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DVD Review: ‘A Call Girl’

★★★★☆

Slovenia may not be renowned for its film industry, but with Damjan Kazole’s modern day tale of prostitution and social alienation A Call Girl (Slovenian Girl, 2009), it perhaps should be. This bleak look at the state of contemporary Slovenian society offers up a mesmerising performance by Nina Ivanisin as Aleksandra, a young language student in Ljubljana. Aleksandra turns to prostitution only to be swept away into a world of crime, where she desperately attempts to hold her life together after a client dies from an overdose of Viagra.

The most striking quality of this well-structured and captivating tale is the central anti-heroine Aleksandra. After turning to prostitution, seemingly from the mere desire for more money and her own flat, we witness her descent into an increasingly chaotic world that spins drastically out of control. Ivanisin’s expert performance captures both the pain and isolation felt by the character as she pathologically lies in order to get her own way or escape from desperate circumstances.

Selling herself for sex seems to be of little moral concern as she sleeps with a friend of her father and emotionally bribes her university tutor in order to pass a paper. This contrasts with the relationship with her depressed wannabe rock star father, which provide some tender moments amidst the drama. A Call Girl’s structure and accompanying mainstream-style cinematography knits the piece together neatly, creating a fascinating examination of the isolation intrinsic to modern city life.

The use of music is similarly powerful throughout, particularly the utilisation of Frank Zappa’s Bobby Brown Goes Down in the final scene, which draws together many of the work’s central emotions. Disappointingly however, some of the supporting cast weaken the film, in particular Aleksandra’s best friend, who seems strangely unaware of how she makes all her money.

With A Call Girl, Kazole has crafted an exacting exposé of the state of modern life in its most perverse forms and has created one of the finest examples of a female anti-heroine in recent years, comparable only perhaps to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander.

Joe Walsh