Slovenian Girl (Damjan Kozole, 2009): Kranj, Slovenia,

Reviewed by Jacqueline Gomez at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2010

Slovenian Girl (Slovenka) directed by Damjan Kozole, tells the story of college age Aleksandra (Sasha), whose double life as a call girl helps pay for her college and housing. However when she witnesses the death of an important politician, two pimps come after with the intent of making her work for them. As she begins to runs the risk of her proud father finding out about her “work,” feelings of responsibility, morality, and fear begin to collide.
The acting was incredible in “Slovenian Girl.” Nina Ivanisin who portrays the main character Aleksandra is so raw in her performance that you forget this film isn’t a documentary. Her fierce eyes and back off attitude give her a tough appeal and the way she rolls her eyes and looks away when someone asks her a question adds to the realism of the film. Aleksandra is pretty yet her character didn’t just work off a modeling add campaign. She’s a chain smoker who constantly licks the end of her cigarette before she lights it up. I like that this action was added to her character because it gives her a sexual flare that her character doesn’t have at first glance. Nina Ivamisin is a relatively new actress and has only done international work in movies such as “Agape.” Ivamisin however is just beginning and we will hopefully see her in more films, fingers crossed for American films. She recently won best actress for her portrayal as Aleksandra at the Valencia Festival of Cinema.
The screenplay was written by Damjan Kozole, Matevz Luzar, and Ognjen Svilicic. The originality, clever dialogue, and heart in the script was what really surprised me. At point Aleksandra’s father’s friend blackmails her on terms of telling her father she is a call girl and ends up sleeping with her. I was so surprised that he does this, since he was so kind to her throughout the whole movie.
The mise-en-scene was very neutral colors throughout the film, as well as low lighting. Aleksandra was always dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans throughout the film. They were all very drab clothes that didn’t call attention to her at all, including her blunt cut, black, straight haircut that ran down her back. The costume design, done by Zora Stancic, made her a plain girl, not ugly just plain, and in no way did she stand out in the crowd. This suited the character of Aleksandra and the overall feel of the film perfectly. The dim lighting and the crowded streets of Aleksandra’s city added to the confusion and loneliness of the film.
The editing was done by Jurij Moskon and Andrija Zafranovic. I liked how the editor left continuous shots in the film. This might have been annoying had it been another film yet the continuous shots really allowed you to look in to the emotions of the character Aleksandra. One of the best example of these continuous shots is at the end of the film when Aleksandra comes out of a club where her father and his band is performing. She is whispering her fathers song and staring off into the distance. The shot lasts a long time yet it is such a powerful conclusion to an unbelievable raw and inspiring film.

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