Girl Model (2011)


Girl Model is co-directed by a modeling scout. The movie weaves through long-lines of ghastly thin girls, picking out the ones that they believe are the most ‘aesthetically’ promising. The catch of it is that she’s really choosing a young girls fate, similar to the fate she had as a young model, by sending them off to Japan in hope for jobs, only to  return with a heap of financial debt. The problems of the industry supersede the problems of the exploitation being committed by the filmmakers; some of the scenes seem incredibly staged, like an MTV show. When the scenes feel authentic, mostly during the moments where the 13-year old subject, Nadya, is crying, it feels wrong to be filming.  The problems are clear: yet, for whatever girl watches this and decides against a temptation of being recruited, or sponsored as they would think, it most definitely is good. And for that sacrifice, praise should be given to Nadya, a mix of beauty and maturity that outruns her real age.

The ending of Girl Model is dismal: In text, we are told that Nadya has returned to Japan and found other jobs across-seas; maybe she Is a model, or maybe a prostitute; the latter seems too devastating, though, to be said in a subtle manner. From what we see of her, she would not stoop so low even for the sake of her rather poor family. At times, it is a very poignant view  of the cruelty that happens in the modeling industry, including interviews with the ‘business’ man, where he consistently states he is in the business for the sake of the girls, and the good he does for them. It would have been more interesting if the camera-man chimed into the conversation, since the talent-scout remains neutral in her responses to the modeling executive. Even if she no longer sees an abundance of glamor in her job, she still has to remain doing it, partly because it is all she has ever known; though, to put the executive on the stand and test his easily avoided issues of morality would definitely be rewarding for the film.  The scout has one foot in her job and the other in her film: pick one.

Girl Model’s pivotal problem is voyeuristic: we know someone has a camera, to a girl’s face, crying, laughing, hugging, and is filming for our enlightenment. The end-goal is amiable and revealing, but on a single-case basis it just seems wrong.

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