Film Review: Girl Model

girl models standing in a row

Girl Model

American Documentary/POV

78 minutes

In an industrial Siberian village, underwear-clad girls parade around a gymnasium as Ashley Arbaugh, a dead-behind-the-eyes model-turned-scout, recruits talent for a Japanese market ravenous for youth. One hot prospect is Nadya, a 13-year-old fawn of a girl who is uprooted to Tokyo and left to fend for herself. The unsettling film is made intimate in close-ups and confessionals by the obviously troubled Arbaugh, who lives in a nearly literal glass house and is frightened at night because anyone can peer in at her. Likewise, her models, lacking autonomy, never know where their pictures might end up, and just who might be looking at them.