Girl Model

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USA, 2011, 78'

Girl Model

David Redmon / Ashley Sabin

Youth: Handle with Care


"All the girls just want to get out there. Sometimes they will be a combination of models and prostitutes […]. You sell your body to a camera. What’s the difference if you sell it to a man?". We used to see those scenes on TV in the early 1990s: scores of barely-clad teenage girls from provincial Romania being strutted back and forth like cattle, in hope of winning some minor ‘Miss’ award and be sent somewhere, elsewhere, anywhere, in the land of the thin and hungry.

Meet thirteen year old Nadya, who is only a ‘grey mouse’ in her Siberian village. (Un-)luckily, one’s grey mouse is another’s ideal: take the Japanese modelling industry, where one can never be young or thin enough, and where Nadia’s prepubescent profile fits the list of the ‘most wanted’. Meet Ashley, the model scout, with her flexible schedule, her glass house and her awful memories from her modelling years – and still, not generous enough to stop bringing other girls into the same mess that she experienced.

Shot in a beautiful fly-on-the-wall style, Girl Model is a dark Lost in Translation populated with underage girls struggling to stay slim on junk food and to keep themselves together while stuck in a drab room at the outskirts of Tokyo, waiting for a booking. A haunting glimpse into exploited youth, this should be mandatory viewing for teenagers everywhere - and for any parents at risk of buying into the modelling fairytale.


12 March, 18:00, Cinema Union

17 March, 20:00, Cinema Corso


English, Japanese, Russian


English, Romanian


Dogwoof Global


Marc'Aurelio Award for Best Documentary, Extra Section, Rome Film Festival, Italy, 2012

ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival, Croatia, 2012
SXSW Film Festival, USA, 2012
Makedox Creative Documentary Film Festival, Macedonia, 2012
Lemesos International Documentary Festival, Cyprus, 2012
Ad Hoc Inconvenient Films, Lithuania, 2012
Verzio Human Rights Film Festival, Hungary, 2012
Toronto International Film Festival, Canada, 2011
Rome International Film Festival, Italy, 2011
Festival do Rio, Brazil, 2011
Abu Dhabi International Film Festival, UAE, 2011                                
CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2011
Tallin Black Nights Film Festival, Estonia, 2011
Goteborg International Film Festival, Sweden, 2011