'Whores' Glory': a sad, gritty look at prostitution around the world
A review of the "Whores' Glory," an in-your-face look at the gritty realities of international prostitution. The Herzog-like documentary was shot in Bangkok, Thailand; Faridpur, Bangladesh; and Reynosa, Mexico.
Special to The Seattle Times
'Whores' Glory,' a documentary written and directed by Michael Glawogger. 120 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains nudity, graphic sex and language). In Spanish, Thai and Bengali, with English subtitles. Northwest Film Forum, through Thursday.
Michael Glawogger's "Whores' Glory," the final entry in a trilogy of documentaries about some less-visible consequences of globalization, is like a stroll through Amsterdam's red-light district at night. It's an experience far more sad than sexy.
Shot in Bangkok, Thailand; Faridpur, Bangladesh; and Reynosa, Mexico, the film gains extraordinary access to the gritty rhythms of prostitution and the lives of women caught up in it.
While Glawogger's approach is nonjudgmental, "Whores' Glory" isn't exactly fly-on-the-wall cinéma vérité. Many scenes are prearranged with camera setups and cued action. The director has stated he had to pay all the women for their time doing interviews. Yet this heightened-reality approach, which owes something to Werner Herzog, changes a little in each place, leading the film to deeper, more disturbing levels of insight.
In Bangkok, "Whores' Glory" distantly observes several days at the Fish Tank, a chic-looking brothel where stylish hookers sit like adoptable pets behind a glass partition. By horrid, up-close contrast are streets in Faridpur, where very young-looking girls are under contract to a harsh, female pimp.
But a neighborhood in Reynosa is its own special hell. It is here that "Whores' Glory," in a sense, consummates its purpose by showing a graphic encounter between prostitute and client. When it's over, he leaves. But she readies for the next guy, and will do so again.
Tom Keogh: firstname.lastname@example.org