Primetime

The Deuce

Michelle MacLaren, Ernest Dickerson

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From the creative minds behind The Wire and Treme comes this gritty snapshot into the birth of the porn industry in 1970s New York, starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Times Square, 1971. Two pimps sit in a bus station, comparing their prowess with persuasion to Richard Nixon during the Paris Peace Accords. In a nearby diner, a group of sex workers congregate for their daily breakfast ritual. Among them is the empowered Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a savvy businesswoman trying to earn enough money to support her child. Across town, honest barman Vincent (James Franco, also at this year's Festival with his film The Disaster Artist) finds himself in financial trouble after his ex–baseball player and professional screw-up twin brother Frankie (also played by Franco) places too many bets with a mafia bookie. Downtown, Abby (Margarita Levieva), a restless NYU student, tests her boundaries by carrying on an affair with a professor and visiting Hell's Kitchen to buy uppers for her dorm mates. Full of ambition, our characters battle with a world marked by violence, drug addiction, and police harassment. Soon, their lives will be changed forever with the impending boom of pornographic movies.

Drawing upon the impressively researched world building techniques that they employed in The Wire and Treme, showrunners David Simon and George Pelecanos' vision captures the moment when sex work rose to mass-market commodification through ingenuity and technology.

Multi-dimensional characters and brusque editing create a propulsive and intricate web of storylines, each representing a different key angle on this emerging industry. Far from the glitz of Hollywood portrayed in films like Boogie Nights and rooted in the darkest corners of New York's five boroughs, The Deuce tells a truly American story of legalization. Join us for the first two episodes of the series, followed by a special conversation about the creative process behind it.

MICHAEL LERMAN

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