Slovenian Girl (A Call Girl) (2009)
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A student turns tricks on the side, hiding her profession from her father and the police.
As a genre, a character study should have an interesting character, but it seems as though the filmmakers believe that Sasha profession alone makes her interesting. It doesn't. Compare Sasha to Elizabeth Shue's character, Sera, from Leaving Las Vegas When we're introduced to Sera, she takes pride in her work and her ability to transform herself; A Call Girl doesn't explore Sasha attitude regarding her work, but we can deduce that she looks at it with an insouciant shame. Sera has a cruel pimp who's eventually killed; Sasha has cruel would-be pimps, but the plotline gets dropped halfway through the film. Sera falls in love with the Nicholas Cage character; Sasha settles for some guy we see twice in the whole film, and their relationship history is reduced to "I wanted to ask you to the movies before." "Why didn't you?" "I don't know." Clearly, Sasha simply isn't developed, and the main conflict of the film, her money troubles, reduce the resolution to a math problem rather than a human problem.
Overall, A Call Girl is how not to do a character study because it missed the important point: have a character worth studying.
A gritty character study of a young woman who trades her body for creature comforts, but loses something of her humanity in the process. Sasha (Nina Ivanisin) lives and goes to school in the big city of Ljubljana and turns tricks on the side in order to afford a luxurious apartment. The film shows the dirty underbelly of life in her chosen profession without delving into prurience. The sex scenes are brief and will be a disappointment to those looking for lots of skin. Mostly we are shown the events leading up to, or the immediate aftermath, of any encounters. This is not about the sex as much as it is about the choices that Sasha makes and the way she carefully manipulates those around her. The script has obvious gaps as we do not learn what prompted her to embark on this path, nor do we always understand the choices that she makes. The trailer is more instructional on her back story than the film ever pretends to be. There is something about Sasha however, that invites the viewer to care about her and to hope that her choices will not destroy her. For that I found the film to be most engaging.
This Slovenian film directed by Damjan Kozole premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2009 and it was released theatrically in more than 30 countries (in US under the title A Call Girl). It is worth watching this fascinating study of the individual and of the society in which so much has changed in a short time. The story of Aleksandra, a twenty-three-year-old Slovenian who leads a double life (she is a respectable student and a call girl) was not just possible but very probable. Young stars Nina Ivanishin was mesmerizing in her role and simply everything she did was right - acting was on the most powerful level even with the antiheroine role like this. It was exciting to watch her in a movie that seems to value character over plot, and substance over style! Thanks to Nina, the film is a "must see".
If you forgot how an elegantly written script that creates real three-dimensional characters delivers - here is your chance to be educated! Damjan Kozole's character study creates a distinctive mood that is hard to get rid off while hauntingly meditating on capitalism and the world's oldest profession. Don't miss this one!
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