By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on November 15, 2013

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Dear Kamila Zlatuskov
Associate Producer

Dear Kamila,

There's no murkier job description on a film set than that of the Associate Producer. How you personally earned this title, and what your responsibilities included, are anyone's guess. Maybe you're an up-and-coming big shot, or a bona fide number cruncher, or a valued creative partner, or a local string-puller, or someone the director just needed to pacify by slapping a label on you. If it's the latter (as is often the case), I'm going to imagine you as a troubled Slovakian 15-year-old girl willing to do terrible, terrible things to get that title you desire - be it "associate producer" or simply "girlfriend".

I really hope I'm wrong. Drawing that parallel between you and Ela (Michaela Bendulova), the main character in Miracle, is far-fetched, right? Surely you would be smarter than selling yourself to human traffickers just so some asshole guy that you like can get himself out of debt. Because - spoiler alert for idiots - that might not go so well. Even if your plan is just to eventually "escape".

Luckily, the way co-writer and director Juraj Lehotsky tells the story, I couldn't help but feel sympathetic to Ela's plight. Much like his main character, we as audience members are taken straight to a female re-education centre without any proper explanation. The resulting friction between the girls we meet there reveals more than enough for us to piece together what's ailing Ela. Her father is not in the picture, her mother (Katarina Feldekova) is tired of dealing with a troubled teen, and there's a mysterious man whose name is tattooed on her knuckles named Roby (Robert Roth). When Ela finds out she's pregnant, she runs away to find Roby, but he's hardly happy to see her, even before she breaks the news. In fact, she seems more like a forced-upon intern pushing for a full-time position than she does an actual girlfriend.

Still, my sympathy rested squarely on Ela's shoulders, since few other characters even register. And as the story skips quickly between scenes and seasons, brevity may be the film's greatest virtue. At 78 minutes, Miracle manages to make a strong enough impression to recommend it as at least a cautionary tale to young stubborn women. Which, again, I'm sure you're nothing like.

Making false associations,


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