We are the Best, three rebellious girls in 1980s Stockholm
by Camillo de Marco
- Four years after the flop of Mammoth, Lukas Moodysson has put his name to an entertaining comedy. Starring three teenagers in a punk band
Born from his wife Coco’s graphic novel, Aldrig godnatt (Never Goodnight), Lukas Moodysson’s seventh film We Are the Best [+see also:
film profile] (in the Orizzonti section during the Venice Film Festival) is being presented four years after the flop of Mammoth [+see also:
film profile]. Since then, the 44-year-old Swedish director of Together wrote two novels, one based on his father’s death, learned to play chess and tried to change careers.
It is a good thing he changed his mind. We Are the Best is an entertaining film full of life. Set in Stockholm in 1982, it tells the story of three 12 and 13-year-old girls who answer the call “punk is not dead!” by creating a band, reacting to the boredom of their family and school lives.
Moodyson, whose narrative specialty is the relationship between children and adults, has tended to be quite hard on girls. In his striking 1998 debut Fucking Amal, he told the story of homosexual teenagers forced to fight prejudice in a little town in western Sweden. With Lylia Forever, his Venice film debut in 2002, he tackled the theme of underage prostitution. In comedy Together (2000) about a 1970s Swedish commune, Moodysson proved he was able to confront family conflicts in a light and hilarious way.
We Are the Best is told along similar lines. Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) has a partner-less mother who leaves fish fingers for her to warm up while she drinks at the bar. Klara (Mira Grosin) has affectionate but invasive parents. Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne) has a very catholic mother. When the two first, with their short hair and tom-boyishness, decide to form a punk group without ever having played an instrument, they realise the answer to their problems is to involve nerdy Hedvig who studied classical guitar for four years. They first try and get her to change religion (“God is a fascist”) then they convince her to cut her hair and play a song that Klara has just written, “I hate sports.”
A tour in the town of Vasteras will reveal itself to be a disaster (in typical punk fashion, spectators end up attacking the musicians), and two band members are approached by another punk band from Solna (just outside of Stockholm) threatening to upset the threesome’s harmony. After talking about the music scene from the late 1970s and groups like KSMB, Ebba Gron, Travolta Kids and Incest Brothers, Klara decides to go out with a cute drummer. Bobo, who thinks she is the ugly one from the group is jealous and will try and get rid of him. Friendship ends up triumphing over a boy with made up eyes and hair held up by soap though.
The film, which is aiming to attract a wide audience even if it has not yet secured distribution, is a continuation of a collaboration between Moodysson, Lars Jonsson and Memfis Film, also behind Lars von Trier films. After appearing in Venice, the film is scheduled for the Toronto IFF on September 9.
(Translated from Italian)
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