I do not like watching films on television. Even though that is the way most people watch movies, I find the little screen too distracting. There are too many diversions that can happen with watching film on TV. I prefer to see a film in a theater, surrounded by like minded patrons all focused on the screen.
The only thing that is worse than watching a film on television is watching one on the internet. With the ability to surf, it becomes a challenge to watch a big picture idea on such a small screen. The producers of Girl Model were kind enough to send me a link to their film but I never watched it on the small screen. This is a film I wanted to see on a large format venue.
Girl Model is an entry in the Documentary Showcase as a part of the Dallas International Film Festival. The film focuses on Siberian 13 year-old Nadya who moves to Japan to break into the modeling industry. She is very fresh faced and beautiful, just the kind of person this industry favors.
Through her young eyes, we see the hardships of trying to make it in the fashion industry. She is promised the moon but finds the reality of being a model is much harder than she expected. Not only are there cultural barriers, there are language challenges. Directors David Rodmon and A. Sabin show that the promise of wealth and fame goes hand in hand with lies and more lies.
They also show the agents who keep finding younger and younger farm girls for a Japanese market that cherishes youth above all. Nadya and her friend live in a tiny apartment and travel around to different agencies, trying to land that big break. As they struggle, they become indebted to the powers that run the industry. One agent Ashley is very matter of fact about the more sinister aspects of how the reality never lives up to the promise. She is a veteran of this industry, still in it and hating much of what she does.
This is a very strong documentary that should be seen by every young woman who dreams about being a model. There are shots of these young women in very little clothing, paraded around more like cattle than humans. It is degrading and sad.
Girl Model plays for the second time on Thursday, April 19 at the Angelika.