My Desperate Teenagers
by Camillo De Marco
- Lukas Moodysson’s Lilja 4-Ever, is in Venice. Ingmar Bergman himself considers his youthful countryman, a “master” of filmmaking
A little girl who loves Britney Spears and lives in a country that once was part of the Soviet Union who finds herself working as a prostitute in Sweden. Her name is Lila, and she is the heroine of Lukas Moodysson’s third feature film. Despite his relative youth, Moodysson is considered to be an authentic “master” of filmmaking by none other than Ingmar Bergman. After the teenagers of Fucking Amal, Lilja 4-ever [+see also:
film profile], is a tough but poetic film dedicated to the millions of children all over the world who find themselves forced to sell their bodies to complete strangers.
Did you intend this film to be a j’accuse towards your homeland, Sweden, widely considered to be one of the most democratic and civilised countries in the world?
“Yes, in part this film points the finger at Sweden, but the story of Lilja 4-Ever is a result of the “free market” that came as a result of the fall of communism. A place where everything can be bought or sold. I wanted to show the gap that exists between the so-called free and rich countries and the poor ones. We are all members of the European Union but each of us is doing everything in our power to close our borders.”
Your portrayal of the desperation of these children who’ve been abandoned and betrayed by adults is almost Dickensian. Do you think we are regressing?
“Comparing this to Dickens is very interesting! We are not regressing, places where people must live without the slightest hope have always existed. I made this film in Estonia but it could just as well have been made elsewhere.”
Each of the three features you’ve directed examines the world of our youngsters. What attracts you to adolescents?
“I don’t know but I find it easier to see things through their eyes. The dimension they exist in is so full of imagination, dreams and evil.”
This film has two parts, the first in the former Soviet Union, and the second in Sweden and it seems that the protagonist’s experience of Sweden is the worse one of the two.
“There are two characters in this film that I like, and one I like a little. The ones I like are in the first part and they are Lila and her young friend called Volodya. Nobody is positive in the Swedish part of the film...”
The character you like, the man who pays Lila to simply hold his hand seems to be the character who owes the most to the protagonists of Bergman’s films. Bergman has called you one of the most luminous talents of Swedish film. What is your relationship to Bergman? “You cannot get away from Bergman, even if you make films that are the exact opposites of his: he remains a formidable presence. He influences you but not on the conscious level. He is not my main source of inspiration but I have to say that I feel extremely close to the character called Alexander in Fanny and Alexander.”
So would you mind telling us who inspires you?
Alien and Blade Runner. I wanted to make a splatter film, very violent, but then I ended up making Fucking Amal. Right now I prefer Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Gianni Amelio. And most of all, Tarkovskij.”
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