Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A Call Girl / Slovenian Girl (DVD Review)

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Dir: Damjan Kozole (Labour Equals Freedom / Delo osvobaja, Spare Parts / Rezervni deli)
Cast: Nina Ivanisin, Peter Musevski, Primoz Pirnat, Marusa Kink, Uros Furst
Slovenia/Germany/Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2009

Reason to see: It's the monthly selection for Film Movement's DVD of the Month Club

Nina Ivanisin stars as Aleksandra, who also goes by the call girl name of Slovenian Girl, an works occasionally as a prostitute while she's studying English in the capital city of Ljubljana. It was very refreshing to see a different tale of this story, one where it's completely the woman's choice to be doing what's she's doing and she even has a goal in mind. But things don't go quite as planned and in a grey world of cash-for-service it's not long before things run out of control.

Aleksandra is a very interesting and unusual character to see on the screen, she is rather cold and indifferent, has no problems lying for personal gain but isn't entirely heartless. In a lot of ways she seems to just want a better life, and only a bit of a better life, and should that not be attainable? Unfortunately it's made very clear that it's not only unusual but also suspect to be able to achieve.

It was very easy to sympathize with her situation, but I wanted to be rooting for her but it wasn't as easy. With the exception of her relationships with father Edo (Peter Musevski) and friend Vesna (Marusa Kink), we are given very little to latch on to with Aleksandra, she doesn't seem very interested in anything which I think is a key point. Her indifference could easily come from feeling like there are no opportunities out there for her, and nothing for her to latch onto in the world. With the exception of the clearly out of student range apartment, we don't get a sense of anything she may or may not want to do. And that's heartbreaking, because it shows not only how few opportunities there must be but also that it's almost futile to even dream about other opportunities.

The performances in the film are a huge stand out, Nina Ivanisin is phenomenal in the lead role of Aleksandra and Peter Musevski is charming as her not-changing-with-the-times father Edo. We also get a fantastic understated from Primoz Pirnat as her Dad's friend Zdravko and from Uros Furst is charming and creepy as her old boyfriend Gregor.

Overall, it's not an easy story by any means. Although there are flickers of light and hope they are no where near as dominate as ideas of false hope and danger as we see Aleksandra's journey get more and more desperate. The darkness feels strongly rooted in truth, so even though it's a hard story to watch unfold it does feel all the more an important to see and hear.

DVD Extras:
  • Biographies on director Damjan Kozole and actors Nina Ivanisin & Peter Musevski
  • The packaging includes a statement from director Damjan Kozole
  • Trailer
  • Short Film: Honored (19 minutes) directed by Stephanie Fischette and starring Elisabeth Moss & Charles Borland

A Call Girl is distributed by Film Movement and is available on DVD in Canada as of September 28, 2010 and in the US as of September 7, 2010. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I appreciated it
It's not a repeat watch for me, given the tough issues & content
I recommend it fans of current issue and/or human condition-based dramas

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

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