Despite its having won awards at film festivals, I found this to be a slight and kind of dispiriting documentary. From the theater’s website:
With the worldwide rise in popularity of young models, have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes? Girl Model follows two protagonists involved in this industry.
Despite a lack of obvious similarities between Siberia and Tokyo, a thriving model industry connects these distant regions. Ashley, a deeply ambivalent model scout who scours the Siberian countryside looking for fresh faces to send to the Japanese market, and one of her discoveries, Nadya, a 13-year-old plucked from her rustic home in Russia and dropped into the center of bustling Tokyo with promises of a profitable career. After Ashley’s initial discovery of Nadya, they rarely meet again, but their stories are inextricably bound. As Nadya’s optimism about rescuing her family from financial hardship grows, her dreams contrast against Ashley’s more jaded outlook about the industry’s corrosive influence. In English, Russian and Japanese with English subtitles.
I suppose it told me things I hadn’t known, but I don’t think I have had any use or interest in that information since viewing this movie. I thought it would be more like “America’s Next Top Model,” I guess, but the setups never came to positive conclusions. I think the film’s maker could have made more of a context for what was actually going to happen (not much, and nothing really positive). For example, it could have been more of a movie about Ashley — how she was in this life, then she was not, and now she is enabling others to take advantage of girls who are possibly even easier to victimize than she was. Well, I guess that was there if I am able to write that, but still it could have been done better, I think.
The scenes showing life in Siberia and in a very tiny Japanese apartment were interesting.