Whore's Glory

11 June 2012 | 3:29 pm | Ian Barr

Whores' Glory is a documentary triptych portraying life at several brothels in – respectively – Bangkok, Bangladesh and Thailand. The dialectic structure of the film is important, because it's key to establishing that director Michael Glawogger isn't interested in polemics. While the Bangladesh segment is plenty sobering, bringing to mind 2004's Born Into Brothels, it's telling that it's placed at the centre of the film, while the surrounding segments take a more distanced, even cheeky look at the profession (a long monologue given by an experience worker in the Mexican segment is one of the most gleefully dirty things I've heard in a while).

Aesthetically, the film's nothing short of stunning, with Glawogger finding beautiful light colors and compositions that never feel composed, even if many of them probably are. The 'glory' for these women, finally, is to exist as flesh-and-blood humans rather than pawns at the service of a social cause – and it's telling that it's a male customer who feels like the film's most exploited participant in its most explicit scene.