Ženy pro měny
Erika Hníková's documentary on the Czech beauty industry is entertaining but disturbing
Plot Summary: Documentary. Ženy pro měny is a tragicomic tale of ordinary women who are influenced by and try to reach Czech society's ideals of beauty. It's also a film about the people who create this ideal and about the money that the "beauty cult" generates.
Review: An entertaining but disturbing snapshot of Czech womanhood at the turn of the 21st century, Ženy pro měny is an impressive piece of work.
As an attack on the beauty industry - cosmetics, dieting, plastic surgery, modelling and women's magazines are all in the firing line - the film never quite lands a knockout blow, but it certainly leaves its target a little battered and bruised. (If nothing else, Ženy pro měny's gruesome cosmetic surgery footage will put most people who see the film off ever getting a boob job.)
What impresses most about the movie, though, is its broad scope - the time and effort that Hníková has put into assembling a range of subjects with interesting tales to tell or strong views to advance.
An accountant, a pop star (Dara Rolins), a Škoda assembly line worker, a group of schoolgirls, the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, a group of young anarcho-feminists and a future contestant on US reality TV show The Next Joe Millionaire (Karolína Chudá) all share screen time in Hníková's film, creating a fascinatingly bizarre and often very funny cross-section of Czech womanhood.
Like the creators of notorious hypermarket hoax Český sen, Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák, Hníková is a product of Prague's FAMU film academy, and there are obvious similarities between the two films.
Like Remunda & Klusák - and unlike, say, Michael Moore - Hníková doesn't beat her audience into submission with her "message." Instead, Ženy pro měny prefers to ask awkward questions and, for the most part, leave the audience to figure out the answers for themselves.
Hníková also deserves credit for her subtlety. While she clearly has strong opinions of her own, she refuses either to totally condemn or totally condone any of her subjects' views.
Her interview with Cosmo editor Sabrina Karasová, for instance, is necessarily awkward but not entirely unsympathetic. At the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, Hníková draws one of the anarcho-feminists into a surprising revelation.
What Ženy pro měny lacks, though, is a historical perspective. The film implies, unintentionally perhaps, that the pressure to conform to feminine norms is a product of capitalism, and the money being made selling beauty products
Those pressures obviously existed before 1989 too, but Ženy pro měny doesn't acknowlege that.
That complaint aside, Ženy pro měny is a film worth seeing, even if it isn't always comfortable viewing.
PTV Rating: 4 out of 5
English Title: The Beauty Exchange
Runtime: 1 hour, 17 minutes
- The Kino Světozor cinema shows English-subtitled Czech films every day
Video on YouTube
National Films Archives to celebrate Miloš Forman by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: milosforman.com)
The director will turn 85 in February, and has made several notable films
Hajao Mijazaki animation coming to Bio Oko by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Bio Oko FB)
Crowdfunding helped pay for the festival of Japanese animation
Movie Review: Live by Night by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Gangster drama offers some new settings but lacks the killer instincts
Movie Review: Why Him? by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A late Christmas comedy was not worth the wait
Short Films Festival arrives shortly by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Trouble Every Day - Pragueshorts)
The 12th edition of the festival has new films plus award winners
Iranian film festival starting in Prague by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A film that won two awards at Cannes starts sixth edition of festival
Movie Review: The Great Wall by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Epic monster film set in the Song Dynasty delivers very colorful action
Movie Review: Paterson by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Jim Jarmusch takes the audience to spend a week with a poetic bus driver
Movie Review: La La Land by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Musical about Hollywood is uneven but hard to dislike
Movie Review: Assassin’s Creed by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Video game inspired film offers little to the uninitiated
Become a Good Angel!
Looking for a memorable experience in Prague?
Looking for a Handyman in Prague?
Petra Měchurová Hair Salon right in the historical center...
Prague river cruises – popular Prague tourist attractions
20 Years of true caring for the international community in...
VR entertainment and gaming center
Hostel in Prague 3, Zizkov