A mild-mannered Aussie farmer's disastrous attempt at brothel-owning is chronicled in a new documentary. Spoiler alert: hilarity, tragedy ensue.
Farming, as we know, is rough. Chris Rohrlach, a New South Wales sheep farmer, had fallen prey to a drought and crop failure, and with a small child, a baby on the way, and a wife whose medical care (she was rendered quadriplegic after a stroke) was more than he could afford, the answer was obvious: a brothel.
As the Independent recounts, Rohrlach and a friend built First Choice Stress Relief from scratch, with his wife's blessing, "with polished timber floors, a solid pine reception desk and four "working rooms", one with a spa, another with mirrored walls and ceiling." While the brothel was legal, the small town of Inverell, conservative and Christian, was appalled and mounted protests. The town's remote location made it hard to "attract staff," especially younger sex workers who were more inclined to go for the opportunities of bright lights, big city. Oh, and Rohrlach was totally unsuited to the pimpin' life. Says the article, "he hated the late hours, and felt uncomfortable around the staff and customers." These, you see, were problems. So, not shockingly, the business closed after less than a year, Rohrlach took a big financial hit, and he's gone back to farming.
The doomed enterprise, the story's tragic undertones - and the conflation of doting father and incompetent brother-owner - proved a compelling subject to filmmaker Safina Uberoi, who chronicles the disconnect in a new documentary A Good Man. We're eager to see it, as it seems to offer a unique perspective on sex work and people's reactions to it. One thing that's immediately striking about the story is that Rohrlach seems to have been totally shocked by people's reactions to, what seemed to him, as straightforward an enterprise as farming. And yet, clearly he was personally uncomfortable with sex work, which mirrors the attitudes of a lot of people. We're thinking the combo of "good guy" and "stern moralists" is going to be a quirk film in 3...2...1, although whether it'll be a Full Monty-style romp or a serious look at the issues involved depends entirely on what Australian actors are available.
The Saga Of The Worst Little Whorehouse In Australia [Independent]