Watched Jun 25, 2012
Adam Cook’s review:
Girl Model is a detached and often uncomfortable documentary looking at model trafficking from Europe to Japan. It is a film that is as depressing as it is affecting as it dispassionately follows two journeys - that of a 13-year old Russian girl travelling to Japan to earn money as a model and the disillusioned ex-model and now scout assigned to find fresh talent.
This is a million miles away from the glamorous modelling world portrayed elsewhere in the media. Opening in a harshly lit room with vacant looking adolescent girls lined up waiting for their big break, they are nothing but commodities to be exploited and manipulated by vaguely creepy agents. Rather than it being a way to escape a poverty stricken life in Russia it appears they simply swap one prison for another. However, the most telling story is the female scout charged with finding this new meat. Via video diaries she kept during her own time as a model, the film chronicles the dehumanising and dispiriting effect such an existence has on a young person. It is sad to see she despises the industry yet is still unable to break free from it, but the fact she now helps bring others into this system is incredibly tragic for all involved.
Eye opening and unsettling.