AKA: Masz na imie Justine
Directed by: Franco de Pena
Starring: Anna Cieslak (Mariola/Justine), Arno Frisch (Niko), Rafal Mackowiak (Artur), Mathieu Carrière (Gunter), Dominique Pinon (Uncle Goran)
Language: Polish, German, English (English Subtitles)
Genres: Human Trafficking-Prostitution, Captivity-Kidnapping, Rape-Sexual-Violence against Women, Women In Prison
Plot – Spoilers:
Anna Cieslak in her debut performance is quite impressive as Mariola, a young Polish girl who’s just landed a job at a local ham factory in her small town. She lives with her granny and for the most part her life is simple, naive and giggly with her two girl friends. But there is an inescapable desire to move away to the brighter cities. So it seems like destiny has come calling when Artur, a childhood friend who’d moved to Germany years back, returns. Artur was bullied by the girls due to his stammering problem but is a different story altogether now – charming and the gatekeeper of a brighter future it would seem.
So Mariola doesn’t hesitate for a second when Artur asks her to come away with him to Cologne to meet his family. There’s a spring in her step when she lies to her gran about going on vacation with her friends and instead drives into Germany with Artur. She’s in for a horrific shock though, when she realizes she’s been conned like many young East European girls into the booming flesh trade.
1. The ‘breaking’ scenes are thought provoking. It would seem like the time-tested tradition of threat-to-your-family is the only thing guaranteed to work. It’s also ironic when you learn at the end that Mariola’s grandmother had actually died within a week or two of her leaving, and that her reason for complying was a wasted efforts By the end of the movie, happiness seems to have been sucked out of Mariola, but the presence of her old friends suggests that time could be the cliched healer.