If you believe that a society should be judged by the way it treats its poor, be sure to catch this bracing, at times horrifyingly intimate documentary triptych on the prostitution industry from Austrian director Michael Glawogger. Tactfully shattering received wisdoms, this colourfully shot and casually explicit film begins in Thailand, moves to Bangladesh then ends in Mexico, and it doesn’t merely chronicle the transactional formalities of buying and selling sex but, by zeroing in on a specific brothel or street in each location, it speaks volumes about wider cultural attitudes to sex, relationships, money and personal ambition. The teaser the film throws up in the end is, what’s worse: the sanitised, ‘respectable’ prostitute production line offered in Thailand, or the mangy, freaked-out crack shacks of Mexico? The choice is yours.
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