Michael Glawogger wraps up his 'globalization trilogy' with a look at the world's oldest profession
Finally, "La Zona" in Reynosa, Mexico is home to older, hardened, philosophical women as frank as their cheerfully horny customers. It's a falling-down-drunk party scene in which one customer allows himself to be filmed in the act, while a retired sex worker describes a particular specialty she used to perform with an ice cube ("They bleat like goats"). The men curse and complement the women in the same breaths, Madonna-whore complex operating at maximum speed; one guy cruising around in a truck works himself into such a froth just discussing the local talent that you wonder if he'll dirty-talk himself to climax. Yet there's a forlorn quality to it all — even when a pro proclaims "I'm paid for it, I enjoy it. I'm paid to have fun," the surroundings suggest she's making the best of a deal that didn't come with any better alternatives.
As usual Glawogger allows no overt commentary or judgment in another immaculately packaged object d'verite, this one sometimes a little too chicly scored to chill room tracks by CocoRosie, PJ Harvey, and such. More than its predecessors, though, Whores' Glory could have used a little editorializing, or at least contextualizing. Is it even desirable to artfully yet passive observe this of all trades, so frequently rife with exploitation and complex moral issues? Raising myriad questions it's too aesthetically clean to hazard addressing, the film becomes less an inquiry into than a scrapbook of prostitution 'round the world — a duty- (as well as STD-) free form of sex tourism for anthropologically inclined First Worlders. *
WHORES' GLORY opens Fri/25 in Bay Area theaters.