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Lady Mercedes – Getting old as a prostitute

with Equal Rights

In Bern, Sylvia Leiser has been working for 35 years as a prostitute. She is known as "Mrs Mercedes", her car and working place being a Mercedes. She has been directly confronted with the changes that took place in the sex business: Prostitution is now socially acknowledged but at the same time has lost its glamor, and the profits are no longer what they used to be.

The number of customers is always the same, yet in Bern the number of women working in the business has increased tenfold. Today, Mrs Mercedes earns in one month what she used to earn in one day.

Car prostitution is a relict of old days, coming now to an end. Only seven women wait for customers – the youngest is 55 and the oldest 74.

The film describes Sylvia Leisers life between growing old and working as a prostitute. She is now 60 and doesn’t make the big money anymore. With a touch of melancholy, Mrs Mercedes recalls the "golden years", the age of mink coats, of American Sport Cars and of the illusion that this good time would last for ever. Today she lives in modest pecuniary circumstances, she might have become owner of houses, she says, but she preferred to spend her money on cars and women.

An intimate and subtle portrait about aging as a prostitute, a documentary about a vanishing chapter of habits in Switzerland

Lady Mercedes – Getting old as a prostitute

Centro Sociale
David Fonjallaz
Simon Jäggi
Louis Mataré

Country: Swiss
Year: 2007
Running time: 52:00 min
Language: Swiss-German
Subtitles: German

Website: www.mercedes.lomotion.ch