Friday, August 7, 2009

Lilya 4-ever

Lilya 4-ever; Drama, Sweden/ Denmark, 2002; D: Lukas Moodysson, S: Oksina Akinshina, Artyom Bogucharsky, Pavel Ponomaryov, Lillya Shinkaryova

Lilya (16) lives with her mother in an apartment in a poor city somewhere in Russia. But one day her mother leaves with her boyfriend and leaves Lilya alone behind. In order not to be alone all the time, Lilya permits boy Volodja (12) to live with her. Together they "sniff" glue and wonder aimlessly through the town. In order to earn money she desperately needs, she takes the job of a prostitute. In a disco, she meets the cheerful Andrey who promises her a good job in Sweden, but once there he sells her to a criminal who locks her up in an apartment and forces her to prostitute for him. Lilya escapes and jumps from a bridge.

"Lilya 4-Ever" is a step forward in the career of director Lukas Moodysson who very directly handled the problem of human trafficking, but also indirectly of people who live in poverty struck areas for whom nobody cares, neither their parents or friends or politicians. The only cheerful anecdote in the film is the one that the Swedish director communicated with actress Oksina Akinshina through an interpreter since she only spoke Russian, yet the rest is a merciless portray of what life can also be, away from the optimistic mainstream films, even though it should be noted that the film is not as depressive as much as it is emotionally devastating. The first 2/3 handle Lilya's "fight" to survive in Russia: she leaves school and lives alone in an apartment. Moodysson says a lot of truths when he shows how she becomes a prostitute because she needs the money: after her first customer, she is left dazed and confused, but the next day she triumphs since she uses the money to finally buy expensive food in a store. The last third shows Lilya "sold" in Sweden (incorporating a very good directorial intervention that shows the montage of dozens of faces of her customers during intercourse) and angrily gives a critique of the capitalistic order. It's not a truly great film, but it is still very good, indicatively showing how she was also a prostitute in her homeland, but at least there she was free and on her own.


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