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Nina Ivanisin in A CALL GIRL (Photo: Film Movement)

Directed by
Damjan Kozole
Produced by
Danijel Hocevar
Written by Ognjen Svilicic, Matevz Luzar & Kozole
Released by Film Movement
Slovenian with English subtitles
Slovenia. 91 min. Not Rated
Nina Ivanisin, Peter Musevski, Primoz Pirnat, Marusa Kink, Uros Fürst, Andrej Murenc, Aljosa Kovacic & Dejan Spasic

Damjan Kozole’s A Call Girl concerns a university student from the provinces who has turned to the world’s oldest profession. This type of fish-out-of-water story has often been told onscreen, but for all its familiarity, A Call Girl remains fresh, thanks to Kozole’s sober approach and actress Nina Ivanisin, who gives a breathtaking performance as Alexandra.

Sick of small-town life, Alexandra seems content in Ljubljana. Learning English by day and working as a prostitute by night, her anonymity in the big city appeals to her. But after a German politician dies of a heart attack during an appointment, she runs from the cops, who want to question the hooker named “The Slovenian girl,” and later from local pimps, who want a cut of her business. Eventually, Alexandra returns home, where her father is trying to restart his old rock band. Despite her antipathy towards her hometown, she realizes it might save her.

At times, Kozole presents Alexandra’s situation in routine fashion, like when she runs for her life from the pimps after they have dangled her upside down off a balcony. When she’s failing a course because of a missed exam, Alexandra tells her professor she had a tumor surgically removed, and she later explains to a bank representative that she needs more time to payoff a loan because—you guessed it—her father has a tumor. Would both a college professor and a bank employee fall for an obviously desperate stratagem? Maybe so, but it smacks too much of a dramatic shortcut so Kozole can continue the story. Still, these are rare false steps for a movie that exposes details of everyday life. There are many marvelously low-key scenes when Alexandra spends time with her dad or old friends where A Call Girl puts real life onscreen. (The original title, Slovenian Girl, is more evocative and less exploitative.)

Nothing would work without Ivanisin, who so immerses herself in the part that it seems like we’re watching a documentary. Of course, that she’s completely unknown to our eyes helps, but her believable portrayal of a confused young woman who thinks she’s tougher, smarter, and more mature than she really is makes one look forward to her next movie. That goes for Kozole, too. His final sequence, homing in on Alexandra as her dad’s band takes a crack at Frank Zappa’s profane “Bobby Brown,” brilliantly shows her loneliness with a touch of sadness as she sings along absentmindedly while standing outside the club smoking. It’s the perfect ending to a perfectly muted character study. Kevin Filipski
September 7, 2010



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