Stratosphere Girl (The Stratosphere Girl, 2004)

US TLA Releasing DVD edition

Tokyo by Night

Text below written 2018-11-11

Visually dreamlike crime drama about the 18 year old Belgian girl Angela (Chloé Winkel) and her journey to Tokyo and work as a nightclub
hostess. Establishments where over-worked Japanese men (with probably, a questionable attitude against women) can meet western young
caucasian women, to chat and drink with (and probably in some cases also to have sex with) and this certainly is a costly hobby.

There is some stilted dialogue and the crime mystery is done a bit heavy-handed and not very interesting at all, BUT ....
this film is absolutely beautifully photographed and has got atmosphere and some pulse to it .... and, the Beyond Gorgeous Chloé Winkel.
So, the Visuals, Tokyo, the girls and Chloé Winkel plus the fine soundtrack makes this indie artmovie a winner.

Angela has just finished her studies at a school in Cologne, Germany when she meets and falls in love with a Japanese DJ guy, Yamamoto
(Jon Yang). When she says she wants some adventure before starting to work he tells her about a Swedish friend Monika (Tuva Novotny) who
work as a hostess in Tokyo, and voilá, soon she's on a plane to Japan. She moves in with a couple of blondes at Monika's place and immediately
gets a job at the club where the girls work. She's soon to know about the competition and jealousy between them.

Angela is called The Stratosphere Girl by the male customers/guests as she's so beautiful she can't possibly be from this planet, and some of the
girls certainly don't like it, and their envy results in evil acts as putting glass in her food and glue in her schampoo.

But Monika is a nice girl and our own Tuva Novotny is fine in an early role, and certainly this film, even though forgotten and neglected, must be
one of the best films she has acted in, and maybe the best one. I've mostly seen her in very rotten crime mysteries, adaptions of the in Sweden
once very popular crime writer Maria Lang, directed and made by a bunch of painfully untalented people.

Tuva Novotny

Angela is an accomplished artist and draws almost everything she sees, manga pictures style, and in parts of the movie we get to hear her narration
about her thoughts and to see her drawings. Larissa, a russian girl who also lived in Monika's apartment, has disappeared and besides working
at the club, where Angela quickly has become the most popular hostess (due to her young beauty, she tell her male clients that she's 15 years old),
she also makes it her cause to find out what has happened to Larissa. She starts sleuthing around and ask questions about her.

What about that creepy caucasian guy with the curly hair, Kruilman (Filip Peeters) and his rich old buddy, are they the killers of Larissa ?
Is Yamamoto involved in the scheme ? Are there ritual killings of western hostesses going on ?
Or could this be a case of false narration as everything is something that Angela has dreamt up for her manga comic. The end is open.

This is a many european countries production - Germany - UK - France - Switzerland and Italy and the director Matthias X. Oberg is a German.
It's a mystery that Fashion Model Chloé Winkler, besides 2 short films, only has acted in this film as she's hypnotically beautiful and fine in the
role as Angela. Winkel is in almost every scene in the film and she carries it with ease, it was soothing for my soul to watch her.
M. X. Oberg made an impressive indie drama thriller and it's a pity that it sank without a trace, and that Chloé didn't get a proper film career.

The DVD is an old 2006 US edition and the film is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 with a 5.1 english audio with english subs, and
there's some japanese spoken too. Extras: a stills gallery, production notes and a director's statement