Wednesday, 18 November 2009
LEEDS FILM FEST REVIEW: Slovenian Girl
Ahhhh, Slovenia! How I adore thee and will watch anything remotely involving your fair country. I was excited about this film as soon as I saw it in the programme, so couldn’t wait to finally see it and look out for places I may recognise – hee hee. (I am interested in the film too…honest)
And I didn’t have long to wait – the opening scene (and catalyst event for the rest to come) concerns the Slovenian Girl, a prostitute, visiting a client in a hotel room who just so happens to be a member of the German parliament. As she enters the room, she finds him barely able to breathe on his bed. She phones for help, but as she does so he drops dead from a heart attack. She takes the money she would have earned, and quickly leaves the hotel. AND THAT HOTEL’S NAME WAS…. heh heh. It was the Best Western Hotel in Ljubljana! I stayed there during the Summer – I recognised that corridor from The Shining immediately! ha. It was a very exciting moment. As was numerous shots of the train station. And the ticket office. And the main shopping street. Anywaaaaaay….
….back to thoughts on the film. I have to say I didn’t exactly love it – for me, it was a really interesting and blunt portrait of a girl who has, through difficult circumstances, had to resort to selling her body to earn money and the unhappiness and trouble this brings her, especially after the incident with the German Minister and the police on her trail. She cannot speak to them because that would mean exposing her duplicity to her family and friends, and this is something she cannot contemplate ever happening. So follows a life of ducking and diving, lies and deceit, humiliation and sadness. It would make more of an unsettling watch if ‘Slovenian Girl’ was a likeable character, but she’s a bit sour faced to be truly sympathetic. She has ultimately got into this mess herself, and her reasons for pursuing this way of life are selfish, shallow ones (keeping her flat, University fees). It poses the question of admiralty – how far would you go to possess independence?
There isn’t much plot to the film either – it ambles and meanders along as we follow ‘Slovenian Girl’'s life and the big event that occurs at the start of the film peters out to have no impact on proceedings at all, other than gaining her notoriety. There are some strange inclusions as well, such as the reforming of her dad’s band, which I thought was going to serve a purpose at some point later on, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. And that’s a statement that can be said for the whole film.
It’s a decent watch – definitely not boring or badly acted or written – and she’s a compelling and strong character to digest. I just wish the film as a whole had a bit more to say, as it felt like a snapshot into someone’s life, and not a particularly memorable one.
(Incidentally, I would suggest watching the trailer before you watch the film, as the voiceover in it narrates things we weren’t even told in the film!! Ha! How strange)