Girl Model (NR)

Documentary 77 September 14, 2012
By Michelle Orange
Although the title of directors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin's dual portrait of two players in the underage-modeling world might suggest an industry smackdown in the familiar mode of high-documentary dudgeon, Girl Model proves unsettling in any but the usual ways. Redmon and Sabin don't need statistics and cautionary talking heads to support a case against sending impoverished 13-year-old girls across the world to be exploited by fashion grotesques without the protection of a guardian, much less a developed sense of self. They opt instead for a story well told and let the other stuff tell itself. That story begins in small-town Siberia, where dozens of pale, pubescent girls align in bikinis, part of a model "casting" they hope will change their lives or, in the case of an elongated blonde named Nadya, build her family a home. Presiding over this casual degradation is Ashley, a self-loathing former model and current Japanese agency scout.The radiant sadness of its two subjects-- one a soulfully impassive stripling, one a symmetrical husk-- forms the center of Girl Model, and that is enough.
Ashley Sabin, David Redmon Nadya, Madlen, Ashley Arbaugh, Rachel Blais Ashley Sabin, David Redmon Ashley Sabin, David Redmon First Run Features


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