The photos were mailed to their mothers with instructions to provide “brief, critical analysis” and to refrain, if possible, from “personal attacks.” Responses arrived surprisingly promptly, were translated with Google Translate, and are presented here unedited.
Although somewhat infuriating, her success isn’t so hard to understand. She’s gorgeous in a warm, expensive way. She pals around with Stella McCartney, gets featured in Marc Jacobs campaigns and dates indie rockers. She’s like a very rich, powerful hipster with a camera. We like her and we love her taste in music.
After three days of training, we were deemed ready for uniforms. No one asked for sizing information; shorts and tanks in size XXS were distributed to all. We retreated to the bathrooms to wrestle ourselves into suntan-colored pantyhose and elastic tanks—assuring one another the look was cute, or kawaii—and lined up in front of the trainers. They inspected us for uncovered tattoos, forbidden nail jewelry, and proper shorts length.
For a while, they are able to function without their mother, but slowly over time their conditon deterioates. The film is fascinating for the way it patiently documents this slow decline. The children seem to accept the absence of their mother as if it’s nothing out of the ordinary, but eventually as they run out of money their condition worsens and tragedy creeps up.
It’s endearing how the detached cynicism with which hipsters confront their surroundings is tempered by a sentimentality for “old” things, namely, these circa 80’s photos—and how those compromised photos resembled the inception of photography in the 1840’s.