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Lucas Moodysson

Container * Lucas Moodysson (2006)

It does not happen often that I turn off a film, but this was not the right film for a hot summer night. The director of depressive teen-films seemingly wanted to make a peek into the head of a schizophrenic young woman. Since the very first second a woman’s voice is constantly rattling incoherently and with a soft, almost whispering voice. I had an import version without subtitles, not even English (the film is spoken in English) and with outside sounds of neighbours, etc. this was way too hard to follow. What the woman whispers is shown in weird and disturbing black and white images with strange effects and montage. Normally I like the weird and experimental kind of filming, but the incomprehensible voice started to work on my nerves. I think I need to see this film again some winter night, at the moment I will not rate it.

Lilja 4-Ever * Lucas Moodysson * 2002

The Dutch public channel Nederland 3 has an ‘Danish summer’. Two Danish films a week during the summer season. This is very nice, because they show some films that have been on my wish-list for a while. Unfortunately I already missed two of them while I saw others that I had already seen.
“Lilja 4-Ever”, I have known about this film 4-ever! It is a Danish film, but it mostly plays in Russia and it is spoken in Russian. I know only two of the films of Moodysson, but “Fucking Åmål” is in a few ways similar to this one. Lilja from the title is a 16 year old girl living in Russia. In the first scenes we see her mother take off to the USA and leave Lilja behind. She now has to rely totally on herself. Her aunt puts her in a crappy appartment, but since Lilja still goes to school, she has no money for the rent or food. This soon becomes a big problem. Together with her much younger only friend Volodya Lilja dreams of better times. This seems to happen when Lilja meets Andrei, but things do not turn out exactly as she hoped…
This film shows the desperate situation in a poor, annamed Russian small town in a rather confronting way. You can quickly see where things lead to, but I won’t give that away here. A fact remains that like “Fucking Åmål” again presents a confronting view on the hard life of a teenager and this time put things in a bigger perspective to at the same time put a serious worldwide problem to question. A good film, but definately not a nice watch! <15/8/05><3>

Fucking Åmål * Lucas Moodysson * 1998

Ever since this film came out I wanted to see it, but this took so long that I finally saw it from TV. Fucking Åmål shows the lives of teenagers of the small Swedisch town Åmål. Agnes (Rebecka Liljeberg) moved there one and a half year ago and has problems making friends and her fancying girls instead of boys making her extra insecure. She leads a withdraws life with her music an her diary.
Elin (Alexandra Dahlström) on the other hand is a popular girl at school, because she is quite beautiful and everybody wants to be her friend. Her best friend -though- is her older sister Jessica (Erica Carlson). Elin is also not too happy with her life. Åmål is the most boring place and so retarted that by the time something is hip and cool there, there is already something new in the rest of the world. She fears a future in Åmål that is as boring as her life so far. When Agnes and Elin more or less as a joke meet at Agnes’ birthday and the two sisters find out about Agnes’ homosexuality, the sisters bet that Elin doesn’t dare to kiss her which she does, leaving Agnes in even greater distress and she even becomes the laugh of the school when everybody gets to know of her sexuallity. Elin on the other hand initually think being a lesbian is quite cool and since she wants to be different from the rest, she first makes jokes about becoming lesbian herself, but finding out that this would cost her the life with lots of friends and attention that she got used to, she represses the idea by starting to date a boy that has a crush on her. In the end she dumps Johan (Mathias Rust) in favour of Agnes.

I always thought that Fucking Åmål was a feel-good kind of light comedy, but I actually found it quite heavy. Two girls in difficult periods of their lives brings ideas of films like Heavenly Creatures or The Virgin Suicides. Another thing is that when things finally get better for the two girls after they came together, the film suddenly stops, not showing what ‘the world’ thinks of the two lesbian teenagers or how the relationship developes. Quite strange actually. The film is also really short, a little under 1,5 hour.

Overall I found Fucking Åmål nice, but not too great definately in comparison with Heavenly Creatures and The Virgin Suicides. <3>