The Whore's Son

Near the beginning of this 2004 Austrian drama, director Michael Sturminger shoots through the bars of a large crib as a beautiful Vienna hooker (Chulpan Khamatova) curls inside hugging her infant son. It's an appropriate image given the feelings of imprisonment that eat at mother and child as the years pass—she advances into the ranks of high-priced call girls, but the son (Stanislav Lisnic) eventually discovers and rues her occupation. Adapted from a novel by Gabriel Loidolt, this is most interesting for its textured family history and pained religiosity: Croatian by birth, the woman has fled the former Yugoslavia with her widowed sister and alcoholic older brother, a bitter philosopher who tells the teenage boy that God and the devil get together every night for meatballs and shots of slivovitz. In German with subtitles. 86 min.

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