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Review: Whores’ Glory (2011)

Directed by: Michael Glawogger | 110 minutes |

The oldest profession in the world still causes raised eyebrows, deep shame and a cartload of abuses. That reputation will not improve with the release of “Whores” Glory “, an Austrian that offers a glimpse of the world of prostitution without many words.

Whores ‘Glory’ consists of three parts, which all deal with a place where prostitutes and clients meet. In the first part we go to The Fishtank in Bangkok, a luxury brothel where the girls sit in a kind of aquarium, all with a button with a number. The clientele is seated on chairs opposite them. When a customer finds someone to their liking, he passes the girl’s number to the troublemaker who then takes her out of the aquarium.

For the second part, we move to The City of Joy, an open-air brothel in Bangladesh. This environment is 100% Dickens: narrow streets with fairytale lighting where the girls and customers meet. Until the power goes out at the same time every night, because then the owners of the brothel come to collect the money from the female pimps. At that moment we leave Dickens and end up in the Middle Ages.

“Whores” Glory “ends in Mexico, the wet La Zona neighborhood of Reynosa, where prostitutes try to lure their clients into their shabby rooms. Where in the Thai part the girls find comfort in the Buddhist faith and let the money roll, here it is the macabre excesses of the Catholic faith that help the women to survive. The little money they make goes to drugs and booze.

Attractively supported by by CocoRosie and PJ Harvey, “Whores” Glory “descends with every part further into the pool of misery that can be prostitution. It is shocking to see how immature adolescents in Bangladesh are sold to the hard as nails female pimps. Even more shocking is how those adolescents grapple with existential questions, and how they try to hide their grief behind a dignified appearance. There is no question of the cheerful fatalism of the Thai girls here. At the same time, they have not yet fallen as far as their down-and-out Mexican colleagues.

With this fascinating and gloomy documentary, director follows in the footsteps of fellow countrymen such as and Hubert Sauper. In films like “We Feed the World” and “Darwin’s Nightmare” they also let the images tell the story. But just like in the documentaries mentioned, “Whores” Glory “has a clear vision of man and his shortcomings. The girls are tragic, the customers sad, and a world that allows this is no place to be proud of.

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