“Every day is hell and hell is me” says Mallory, the Czech female protagonist of the eponymous doc. This brilliant piece of work from filmmaker Heleny Trestikove portrays the improvements in her life after deciding to quit drugs. We follow the life and dilemmas of this fascinating character from 2002 until present days. From drug addict to social career in just a decade, Mallory tells a true story of overcoming hard times and dealing with a society that isn’t ready to support homelessness, addiction and mental disorders.
It’s fascinating watching a documentary which took so long to be completed, and to such great results. Helena Třeštíková had to grapple with the ups and downs in Mallory’s life for what felt like eternity. How many ends this film could have had? Overdose, suicide, or continuing addiction? No. Mallory’s story ends up to be very successful if compared to countless unhappy endings for many heroin addicts. It’s an inspirational tale of persistence and determination.
Mallory’s story is set in a gloomy and junky Prague, and exposes some underground societal illnesses. Audiences should not expect any conventional beauty in its images. Living in an old car with a boyfriend for years, she faces insecurities about the future, risks relapsing and suffers from the absence of a son locked up in a mental institution. The beauty in Mallory is her finding strength, love and hope in the most horrific situations. Filmed with a very restless, nervous and curiously handheld camera, the films tries to capture colour amidst chaos.
Even at her lowest, Mallory is a believer, and it’s the relationships with the people around her that trigger her survival instincts. Such as when she meets famous Czech actor Bartoska in a moment of despair and promises him to overcome her addiction. Or her constant search for a permanent dwelling, and to win back the custody of her son Krystof. There is synergy between Mallory and the film director, as Třeštíková joins the battle to reintroduce dignity into the life of her subject.
The documentary also denounces the deficiency in the homeless support and social care system in the Czech Republic; it exposes the many obstacles people need to overcome in order to find government support. This subject matter resonates with this year’s Palm D’or winner I, Daniel Blake, by British filmmaker Ken Loach. Both films expose the humiliation ordinary people have to face whenever unemployed or without a home to live. Mallory could help many to find hope in the dark corners of addiction and dire finances. It is an optimistic scream of faith.
Mallory is available for watching online in some countries on dafilms.com – click here in order to find out more.
Watch the film trailer below: