Contempory Moscow, Russia. Young Galya (Yuliya Vysotskaya) comes to Moscow from the coal-mining town of Shakhty in the Rostov Oblast near the Black Sea, a journey of over 500 miles. She is pretty and bright, if a bit naive and disorganized. Her dream is to become an elite high-fashion model -- a supermodel -- and to see her image on the glossy cover of the fashion magazine Beauty. When she meets the editor-in-chief of Beauty Magazine, however, he tells Galya that she lacks the necessary natural beauty and sense of style to be a model, and she will never appear on their cover. She then goes to work as a seamstress for a famous fashion designer. During one of their shows, quite by accident, she ends up walking the runway as a model. They fire her on the spot. Then, seemingly by chance, she becomes the assistant of the owner of an elite, highly exclusive, personal matchmaking agency, which -- for a considerable price -- arranges marriages for rich men with the most beautiful models in ... Written by
The fact that this film has not drawn more attention makes you wonder who is going to the movies and who is writing about them today. I caught it unannounced on the ethic channel, which was heavy trailering LUST CAUTION at the time.
Konchalovskiy has always been a festival film front-runner and his SIBERIADE is one of the best films made by the Soviets. He's someone whose views on his society have not been forefronted in his films to date, which is good new / bad news. GLOSS breaks with that tradition.
This one gets stuck into Russia in the time of the oligarchs, mail order brides and the free market. Konchalovskiy doesn't like this any more than his brother liked Stalin in BURNED BY THE SUN. The film strives for significance, with the character commenting "It isn't perestroika now. It's globalization." The resemblance to the Julie Christie film DARLING, along with the use of old western pop music gives things an anachronistic, old fashioned quality, which may be the intention. The fashion designer is told his work is out of date in an era where they make sculptures out of urine in London - which is itself out of date.
The leading lady from the director's DOM DARAKOV is back, getting one of the great female roles, going from sweatshop vamp to leader of Russian society and getting more makeovers than the Universal Pictures trade mark. She registers as gorgeous and startlingly transformed. It is a strength of the film that we are not sure whether hers is a success story or not.
Film making is imposing, even with dodgy attempts at high style - the flash dissolves in the scene of beating the "Zionist" journo. They still have trouble getting a full spectrum out of their lab work, though the end credits assure us they are using Eastmancolor. Added to which there is an abundance of topless - and bottomless - female flesh of a high order on display.
Whether or not the film's attempts at shock impact are naive or nicely judged it is one of the most memorable items circulating and leaves the Almodovar- Girl With the Dragon Tattoo twaddle that fills up the specialized theatres in it's dust.
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