Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Call Girl. (2009) Damjan Kozole

Aleksandra is a college girl in Ljubljana, Slovenia, who desires more materially than other college kids. She wants a nice apartment, nice things to put in it, and extra cash to be able to toss out conveniently. Guess by the film's title how she gets it. Why wait and study hard, and in a few years get a job where you can work your way into that fancy room and pretty shoes, when you can simply put an ad in the classifieds as the ever-so-willing "Slovenian Girl"?

The problem is that with this chosen hobby comes secrets to guard tightly, danger around every corner, and a willingness to lie. She offers her body as a temporary way to get ahead, but she offers her soul, too, in lying to cover-up the wrong. We wonder if the hooking act is more wrong than the lying to family and friends, or vice-versa. When her family and friends begin to catch on to what she's doing, and when she wants to stop but falls behind in all her bills, our story's tonal center is the panic of Aleksandra.

Nina Ivanisin plays Aleksandra in a melancholic, perfect manner. She hones in on the surface exteriors, but like any real call girl you've met, penetrating the heart is a lot harder.

We've seen this before in movies around the globe. I'd like to know the current "prostitute to films" vs. "prostitute to every other real-life career" ratio. The percentage of prostitutes in film right now has to be at an all-time high. We can watch the exploitation as easily as the exploiting Johns can bring it. A hooker is as easily fucked in a hotel room as she is from our clean and safe theater seats. It's an event that in either case might be more merciful to not attend.

I don't want to come off too harshly on A Call Girl. It has the most lush cinematography I've seen this year on an EUFF screen. As a film, purely outside of its subject matter, it is entrancing. The eye and the soul meld together, bringing a sense of one belonging at the core of the story. You fall hypnotically into the lighting and the deep feel of these images. Really, the depth of image here is spellbinding. It's a masterful showcasing in form.

Technology, and an understanding of it, changes the way we enact with foreign cultures. In A Call Girl, there's a Slovenian cinematographer who masterfully renders this visual language. It's a shame the only thing some westerners will take away from A Call Girl is that Slovenia, like every other country in world history, has prostitutes -- and that prostitution is bad, which we probably could have guessed.

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