Russian Dolls: Sex Trade
|Russian Dolls: Sex Trade|
|Also known as||Matrioshki
|Written by||Marc Punt
|Directed by||Marc Punt
|Starring||Peter Van Den Begin
|Theme music composer||Sneaker Pimps|
|Opening theme||Post-Modern Sleaze|
|Country of origin||Belgium|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||20|
for Independent Film Productions
Russian Dolls: Sex Trade (Dutch: Matroesjka's, meaning Matryoshka doll, also known as Matrioshki or Matrёshki) is a Flemish drama series about a group of women from Lithuania and Russia who are taken to Belgium by a gang involved in the sex trade to work as sex slaves. The series starts in Lithuania, where the girls are chosen and where they have to sign a contract in Greek, which they cannot understand. The gang, under the lead of Ray Van Mechelen, takes the girls to Cyprus and from there they are taken to Club 69 in Belgium to work. Russian Dolls is sponsored by the Flemish Audiovisual Fund (Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds).
Because of explicit scenes of sex and violence, the program is not appropriate for people under 16 years of age (according to Dutch and Belgian ratings).
Although based on the problems associated with the sex trade, the series is not so much a documentary or engaged criticism of those problems as it is a source of entertainment. However, director Marc Punt has said that it wouldn't be terrible if the series made people aware of those problems. Already, the series is used to warn women in the former Eastern Bloc of the practices associated with the sex trade.
The program was first broadcast on the Belgian channels Canal+ (now known as "Prime") and VTM. After ten episodes, Russian Dolls received a viewership in excess of 1.1 million. Other countries picked up the show as well. A deal was negotiated between VTM, Independent Productions, and several foreign commercial broadcasters to make a second season. The second season finished shooting in October 2007 and aired in Belgium in 2008. Thus far, the series has twenty episodes.
The first season can be seen in the following countries: Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Australia, Russia, Serbia, Brazil, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Montenegro, Estonia, Albania and Chile. In Portugal it airs on Fox Crime. In Turkey and Italy show airs on FX. In Mexico, the series goes out on Once TV.
- Peter Van Den Begin - Raymond "Ray" van Mechelen; runs Studio 69.
- Eugenia Hirivskaya - Kalinka
- Axel Daeseleire - Jan Verplancke
- Tom Van Dyck - Vincent Dockx; became paralysed when Ray pushed him, after trying to make Kalinka give him a blowjob. At the end of the first season he died.
- Zemyna Asmontaite - Daria
- Indre Jaraite - Inesa
- Luk Wyns - Eddy Stoefs; the manager of Studio 69 and is very keen of his money.
- Veerle De Jonghe - Esther Van De Walle
- Lyudmila Lipner - Debora
- Ailika Kremer - Eva
- Lyubov Tolkalina - Olga
- Marc Van Eeghem - Marc Camps
- Stany Crets - Clem De Donder
- Lucas Van den Eynde - reporter Nico Maes
- Manou Kersting - Danny Bols
- Frank Aendenboom - John Dockx; father of Vincent and uncle to Ray. He appears to be the big boss of Studio 69.
- Natalya Reva - Inga
- Hilde Heijnen - Laura Keyser
- Svetlana Abolenkina - Luna
- Zorina Tanasova - Irina
- Vilma Raubaite - Kasandra
- Saartje Vandendriessche - Sita
- Wim Opbrouck - Mike Simons
- Peter Thyssen - Rudi Sierens
The show has also included several guest roles Ludo Hellincx (Nelson Nilis), Karel Deruwe (officer), Jan Decleir (Wim Wilson's father), Chris Lomme (Monique Wilson), and Warre Borgmans (Dokter Van Looy).
Matrioshki 2, Three Years Later
Matrioshki 2 is a Belgian (Flemish) TV serial which was released in 2007 to follow the first TV serial Matrioshki/Matroesjka's (2005) dealing with human trafficking and most especially woman trafficking for prostitution to Europe.
The series takes place three years after the first serial, when the traffickers from the first season are released from jail and go to Thaïland. Dealing this time not only with prostitution from eastern Europe girls on European continent, but also with traffic of young Asiatic girls brought back in Europe for prostitution, sometimes to help their families, it shows the mass problem of human trafficking in the world, one of the most rentable business nowadays, and reflecting the problem of south-Asia traffick, more especially from Thailand.
Smugglers Ray Van Mechelen and Eddy Stoefs were released from jail where they were since the end of Matroesjka's, three years before. They discovered then that their partner, Jan Verplancke, disappeared with the money they made to Thailand. They go then to Thailand, but there Verplanke does not give them the money back : instead, he offers them young Thai girls. But things have changed in three years : the market has grown, and new trafficking groups want to have a place in the market. The only things the girls have in common is that "they do that for their families".