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Open City Documentary Film Festival: Mallory – Review

‘No one gives a rat about me’ are the initial few words to escape the recovering drug addict that is Mallory. A line spoken that is both heartbreaking and dripping in truth as we witness Czech filmmaker Helena Trestikova’s 13 yearlong documentary about this woman’s devastating life. A tale of rejection and determination that is sure to make some of the right noises when screened at the upcoming Open City Documentary festival this month.

Back in 2002, this weak, substance depending woman made a promise to herself – to lead a better life, a clean life for the sake of her new born son. Despite trying, knocking heroin on the head and getting rid of boyfriend who constantly beat her years later she is living in her current boyfriends car not quiet believing that life could ever be this hard for her. Desperately trying to fight the system and get off the street for good, this hour and a half proves just how resilient humans can be, how corrupt society truly is and most of all how much Mallory herself learns from all of her mistakes.

Interestingly, after all these years, when this woman finds life throwing her back into a dark hole, she craves heroin. The desire that once controlled her every move is still so strong that she herself has to constantly battle not to go down that path again and deal with the everyday problems that simply can’t be washed away by numbing your emotions. Her wake-up call back in 2002 worked in some respect but the endless knock-backs from social services resulted in her son being taken away from her and committed to a psychiatric facility.  Such a moment that no mother should ever endure but one that was essential for his young boy to survive away from such abuse and corruption. As this lady cries at the camera explaining that she barely even goes to see him, she knows it was the right choice for him. Although, now she wants her little boy back, to raise him like a normal mother with a roof over their heads.

One thing that is unavoidable here is how Mallory chooses toxic relationship, after toxic relationship – she can’t seem to get it right. Her co-dependency devours her from seeing the truth. Any signs that she should have avoided are clouded by just being with someone so she isn’t alone. Yes, a quality that resides in many of us; yet on screen becomes laborious to watch and all the more predictable. We know that when this lady is in a good spot, that her world will come crashing down around her.

After all we see, what this woman has been through, there is a glimmer of optimism at the end. As she continues to get knocked back down and start all over again, her words to Helena, believing in this project, knowing that even though she isn’t where she wants to be, some things have changed for the best. Ultimately, such a format adopted here isn’t anything new, albeit Helena has shown us something that is important.

This documentary is an emotional roller-coaster of a ride. A ride that is slow to start, has a few too many barrel rolls, but does have a rather hasty middle, blowing wind into the hair of this woman, showing her what to do next.


MALLORY SHOWCASES AT OPEN CITY DOCUMENTARY ON 25th JUNE 
SEE THE FULL PROGRAM NOW! 

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