[SFF 2012: Review] Whore’s Glory
From Director’s Statement: For Whores’ Glory, I chose the theory that the female/male relationship of any given culture can be depicted in prostitution as in everyday life, only dealings move much faster.
Films that offer resolutions are nothing but bad art, because they cannot truly explore the diversity of the human soul.
Acclaimed documentarian Michael Glawogger (Workingman’s Death; Megacities) extends his keen interest in manual labour to the sex industry in four different countries: Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico. By approaching prostitution ‘objectively’ as a form of work present in every society, rather than judging it in moral terms or seeing it through the lens of criminality, Glawogger opens up a space for the sex workers themselves to talk about their daily routines, concerns, aspirations, and their perspectives on sex, men, and spirituality (NB there is a different predominant religion for each of these countries, and it’s interesting that each group of women have a strong sense of superstition/ritual/religion in their every day lives).
The stories the women share are sometimes funny, sometimes shocking (there are tales of being sold into prostitution; in Mexico’s ‘La Zona’, drug use is almost universal amongst the prostitutes), sometimes heartbreaking (particularly two young Bangladeshi girls, who express only unhappiness at the situation they have found themselves in.)
Under Wolfgang Thaler’s gaze (Glawogger’s long-time and possibly long-suffering cinematographer), these three worlds are colour-rich, and achieve moments of unexpected poetry, given the subject matter. A lot is also owed to the excellent soundtrack, which often works in counterpoint to the images, catching the viewer off guard – and ultimately allowing us to reprocess some of the scenes in a non-automatic way.