Slave

An ultra-indie attempt to denounce the horrors of human trafficking, "Slave" is earnest and educational but rarely shows sufficient craft to match its laudable ambitions. Pic is the tale of Tatiana, a young Russian woman who arrives in Chicago via a newspaper ad thinking she's going to work. With help, pic could raise awareness of int'l problem.

With:
With: Erinn Strain, Krissy Shields, Andrew Krukowski.

An ultra-indie attempt to denounce the horrors of human trafficking, “Slave” is earnest and educational but rarely shows sufficient craft to match its laudable ambitions. Tale of Tatiana (Erinn Strain), a young Russian woman who arrives in Chicago via a newspaper ad thinking she’s going to work as an au pair but is drugged, raped and put to work as “a human ATM”: a dancer-cum-prostitute with no options and no hope of escape. Her tale alternates with the antics of a Chicago theater troupe dramatizing the plight of unsuspecting women like Tatiana. With further tightening, this uneven but refreshingly non-exploitative venture could raise awareness of international problem in niche screenings.

The first 20 minutes are almost completely dialogue-free as Tatiana leaves home and walks straight into sexual servitude. In a parallel story, actress Diana (Krissy Shields) auditions for and gets the role of a woman sold into white slavery. Tenuous connection between two strands is a chance exchange of glances between the real slave in a car with her ruthless captors and Diana on the street. Pic, some of which was shot on sets built for “Road to Perdition,” would benefit from less emphatic score. Olken reflects that the crime of human trafficking brings in an estimated $9 billion dollars annually — the same figure as gross receipts for movie ticket sales in the U.S.

Slave

Market

Production: A WaiterGoneBad production. (International sales: WaiterGoneBad, Chicago.) Produced by Noel Olken. Co-producers, Christina Varotsis, Ed Koziarski, Junko Kajino. Directed, written by Noel Olken.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Pete Biagi; editor, Chris Boscardin; music, Steven Gibons; production designer, Marje Veski; costume designer, Laura Darner. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival, (market), May 16, 2003. Running time: 76 MIN.

With: With: Erinn Strain, Krissy Shields, Andrew Krukowski.

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