WHORES' GLORY is a cinematic triptych on prostitution: three countries, three languages, three religions. In Thailand, women wait for clients behind glass panes, staring at reflections of themselves. In Bangladesh, men go to a ghetto of love to satisfy their unfulfilled desires on indentured girls. And in Mexico, women pray to a female death to avoid facing their own reality.
In worlds where the most intimate act has become a commodity, these women have physically and emotionally experienced everything that can happen between a man and a woman. For this they have always received money, but it has not made their lives rich in anything but stories.
NOT JUST SEX FOR MONEY
The topics in WHORES' GLORY are certainly loaded because everyone believes they know something about prostitution, particularly when he or she has never been to a brothel, or they know about it from the media or simply from second hand information. I tried to go in with only one expectation: "This is certainly not going to be what I think it is." I have always felt that prostitution isn't only about paying somebody for sex. That would be too simple, because when negotiations are over and the deal is done, it would only be about two naked people doing the most intimate of acts. I wanted to try and explore more: what does it do to the hearts, minds and souls on both sides?
MEN AND WOMEN
When I start a film, I always need a premise that can be contradicted or confirmed by reality. 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. For example, in Mexico City there is a back alley where prostitutes parade all day long. Men lean against the walls, standing there watching this parade of the dolled up working girls. But the rule of the game is that the men are not allowed to openly choose. They can try to make eye contact, or wink at a girl, maybe sometimes give her a little sign. But it is the woman who has to stop and start to talk with the man. Then when they come to an agreement, the man can take her to a nearby hotel room. This ritual is the perfect mirror of how men and women relate to each other in a strict Catholic society. In WHORES' GLORY, you can see similar rituals and situations. The glass separation between the men and women in Thailand; the men in Bangladesh arriving in groups and choosing the girls together; the Mexican men cruising in cars for the women of their choice.
LOCATIONS DEPICTING THE EXPERIENCE
The most important thing for me was to find places where I could cinematically depict the experience that I want to share with the audience. For example, the Fish Tank in Bangkok separates men and women with a thick piece of glass. Only the men can see the women properly. The mirror-like glass allows the women to only see mostly themselves. By watching the "surface" of this place, you can already detect a lot of details. A place like that makes sense in a cinematographic way. Faridpur's huge prostitution compound, "City of Joy," was also a location that inspired me cinematographically, as well as the dusty roads of Reynosa's La Zona... It was also important for me to show differences in mindsets on the basis of sexuality. The Thailand segment shows a relatively less complex, almost light-footed kind of prostitution that has a certain friendly edge. In Bangladesh, it goes a bit deeper because it's very much rooted in the society, and in Mexico it is actually about death, about an all-dominating desire for death.