Cosmetic surgery is no longer the exclusive
domain of the rich and famous: now anyone with a computer, credit card, and the
will to change what nature gave them can book their procedures online, get on a
plane, and be under the knife less than 48 hours after their arrival.
In this hard-hitting and cinematic
documentary, director Slavko Martinov takes a brutally honest look at why we’re spending infinitely more time, money and effort
trying to keep up appearances than at any other time in history, by following 3 ordinary New Zealanders on a cosmetic surgery
holiday to Kuala Lumpur.
For Deidre (39), a car salesperson from
Hamilton, who is traveling alone and is uncertain about the surgery right up
until she is anaesthetized, this will involve a facelift, upper and lower
eyelids, and most important of all, a submental lipectomy (removal of the
‘turkey neck’ that’s bothered her since she was a child).
For Leanne (42), a Police dispatcher from
Manurewa who was morbidly obese and has lost 60kgs, surgery will involve an
abdonimoplasty (a ‘tummy tuck’), liposuction and surgery to remove the excess
skin under her arms. For her laidback partner Darrin (44), a mechanic, it will
involve liposuction to his back, neck, chin, chest, and abdomen.
During the graphic
surgeries, Slavko interviews the charming and candid workaholic plastic
surgeon, Dr. Jalil, about his experiences, the changes in trends and
technology, the rise in obesity-related surgeries, the influence of the
media-driven consumer culture we live in, and New Zealand’s role in the global
explosion of cosmetic surgery in the last 10 years (not only did Kiwis invent
plastic surgery but surgical procedures in New Zealand have risen 90% since
2000 and, per capita, we’re now on a par with the rest of the world when it
comes to taking cosmetic surgery holidays).
In order to get to
the heart of what’s really
driving so many of us to want to look younger, slimmer, smoother, tighter and
better, Slavko also puts some hard questions to Howard Klein (the head of the New Zealand Plastic Surgeon’s
Association) and Dr. Meredith Jones, who is an author and senior lecturer of
media studies at Sydney UT (specializing in the relationship between media,
consumer culture and cosmetic surgery) about the normalization of cosmetic
surgery, the effects of competition (procedures overseas cost about one third
of local prices), and the pitfalls of pursuing perfection...
…something one of the characters discovers
when they return home.