MADE IN ASH – two more reviews from students at University of Texas

MADE IN ASH - two more reviews from students at University of Texas

MADE IN ASH – Review by: Abigail Weil, University of Texas at Austin

Iveta Grofova’s Made in Ash is a powerful portrait of a powerless woman. Using documentary-style photography and novice actors, Grofova depicts the harsh economic and cultural conditions facing the rising generation. The heroine Dorotka sets out a hopeful and optimistic young woman, but, like another Dorothy, comes to yearn for the home that she left behind.

The film opens with Dorotka’s high school graduation, a moment pregnant with hopes and dreams, and her wish for a dress that makes her look like a princess. But her family cannot afford such luxuries, nor can they afford to support their now grown daughter. At her family’s insistence, Dorotka leaves for the Czech Republic, hoping to find the lucrative work that her small Slovakian town cannot provide.

Unfortunately, Ash is no Emerald City. Not only does Dorotka fail to find any more substantial options than those at home, but she also now lacks the support and protection of her family and boyfriend. As she continues on an increasingly desperate path, it becomes clear that Dorotka’s life will never be a fairy tale. But neither, in Grofova’s nuanced film, will it be a morality tale. Made in Ash does not seek to instruct, but rather to expose. Alternating moments of humor and pathos create a complex picture of one woman’s life, powerfully portrayed by Dorotka Billa in her debut performance, and probably the lives of many women like her.

 

MADE IN ASH – Review by: Jacob M. Heiling, University of Texas at Austin

Shot in an almost documentary style, this film follows an eighteen year-old Romani girl through her struggle to support herself as a foreign worker in the Sudetenland. Overall it is a tale of anxious hope which deteriorates into desperation. Though the film delves into the grim realities often faced by poor immigrant women, it is not without humor and does not feel as unbalanced as similar films often do. Friendships that develop between Dorotka and the other young women with whom she works and lives are believable and lend depth to a story which might otherwise feel one dimensional. This film handles a tough subject well, leaving the audience feeling as if they have seen snapshots from reality.

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