A Mosfilm, Andrei Konchalovsky Production Center (Russia)/Studio Canal, Cadran Prod. (France)/Motion Investment Group (Belgium) production, in association with Backup Films. (International sales: Fortissimo Films, Hong Kong.) Produced by Jeremy Burdek, Nadia Khamlichi, Adrian Politowski. Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. Screenplay, Konchalovsky, Dunya Smirnova.
With: Yuliya Vysotskaya, Ilya Isaev, Irina Rozanova, Olga Arntgolts, Yefim Shifrin, Andrei Noskov, Aleksandr Domogarov, Ela Sanko, Yuris Lautsinsh.
(Russian, English dialogue)
Nothing succeeds like excess in "Gloss," a pointed, if overlong, contempo fairy tale by 70-year-old Russian vet Andrei Konchalovksy about the victory of style over substance. Pic entertainingly charts the rise and rise of a plucky seamstress from provincial Russia through the labyrinthine and equally flashy worlds of fashion, politics and crime. Helmer's name no longer has the cachet it radiated back in the '80s, but still has enough to attract fest allure. International commercial prospects would be increased by a 15-minute trim.
In the town of Rostov, ambitious seamstress Galya (Yuliya Vysotskaya) works in a clothing factory. As the story begins, her photo has just appeared in a local newspaper's sexy advertisement. Dreaming of becoming a supermodel and living a fantasy life of tropical islands and lingerie, Galya taps her thuggish b.f., Vitya (Ilya Isaev), for train fare and heads to Moscow.
There, Galya marches into the offices of Top Beauty magazine, run by an editor (Irina Rozanova) who makes Meryl Streep's character in "The Devil Wears Prada" look like Shirley Temple. While admiring Galya's chutzpah and her gifts of lobsters and handicrafts, the editor gives a withering appraisal of the wannabe's chances before ignoring her....