Miki Manojlovic appears in Michael Sturminger’s The Whore’s Son to give the film heft by his association to Emir Kusturica’s Underground. In Vienna, his Yugoslavian expat works as a garbage collector and his niece works as a prostitute, living above the brothel where her son Ozren (Stanislav Lisnic) will lose his virginity. The film begins with a voiceover inside a bathroom: Ozren declares how he turned his mother into a “soul-butterfly.” He could be a poet—instead, he cleans the place downstairs for his buddy Pepi (Georg Friedrich), who shows him how prostitutes earn their living through a peephole in the storage room. Ozren, played in the film by three different actors, spends his childhood coming to grips with the nature and implications of his mother’s work, and much of the film unspools like a picture book: He goes to sleep as young boy and wakes up as a young adult to the same old grind. But save for his mother’s failed appearance at his class’s Christmas show, the boy’s growing pains are scarcely familiar to Western eyes. His distress is laid out with minimal fuss or pretense, a relief given the leadenness of films like Blackmail Boy and Mirage that a jailbait-friendly Picture This! Entertainment typically imports from this region of the world. Ozren’s affections for a girl in his glass still wounding from her recent arrival from war-torn Yugoslavia is the film’s awkward bid for political significance, which turns ridiculous when the girl is caught in the school closet breast-feeding a doll. Far more interesting is Ozren’s dejected journey for his mother’s love, which distills the Oedipus story and is capped with an unconscious, cut-the-cord bid for survival.
- Picture This!
- 86 min
- Michael Sturminger
- Michael Glawogger, Michael Sturminger
- Stanislav Lisnic, Chulpan Khamatova, Miki Manojlovic, Ina Gogálová, Georg Friedrich, Maria Hofstätter, Gabriel Usein, Emanuel Usein
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