Feature

Girl Model

A very dark corner of the rag trade

Directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin
(Not rated)

***

“Don’t expect to look at a catwalk in quite the same fashion again,” said Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. Instead of putting viewers in the company of “supermodels or Cinderellas,” this “sadly compelling” documentary shows us only predators of the modeling industry, plus “the impoverished dreamers who trust them.” Cameras follow a 13-year-old Russian girl, Nadya Vall, as she’s recruited from her village and flown to Japan for a shot at runway success. The glamour of Tokyo instantly feels like “an improvement on the tiny house and the cracked, muddy street where Nadya was raised,” said Noel Murray in the A.V. Club. But it’s obviously “grossly unfair” that at any moment she can be sent home in debt to her agents “if her measurements change even one centimeter.” Unfortunately, this would-be exposé “is as much a tease as the profession it portrays,” said Jeannette Catsoulis in The New York Times. The specters of human trafficking and child prostitution are invoked, but left unexplored. Girl Model “opens a can of worms, then disdains to follow their slimy trails.”

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