Lilja 4-ever - depressive, moralistic, dispensable?

Discuss Lukas Moodysson's other films and films featuring actors in his films here.

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Postby NOSSYDOOM » Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:38 am

I like it.
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Postby PerfectNemesis » Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:37 am

This actually probably the best work by Moodysson (so far) simply because of the way he brings to the forefront a such socially relevant issue- child trafficking. As much as i was impressed and entertained by fucking amal, Lilja 4-ever is one hell of a consciousness riser.

This kind of movie should be shown all over the world so ignorant people (teenagers in particular) who only bitch and whines of how they aren't spoiled enough be enlightened that there are countless Liljas elsewhere around the world that literally have nothing at all.

My only problem with the movie was the choice of music (Metal don't really fit with the tone of the movie) and of course- those hideous wings.
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Postby hcd » Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:41 am

@NOSSYDOOM: Why have you replaced your statement?
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Postby mpox » Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:14 am

PerfectNemesis wrote:As much as i was impressed and entertained by fucking amal, Lilja 4-ever is one hell of a consciousness riser.

I think this is clearly his best work, though I prefer FÅ as a movie. I loved how he shot the film and dealt with the subject. For example in Requiem For A Dream there's the famous (or infamous I guess) scene where Jennifer Connely and the other girl are putting on a show for a room full of assholes who have paid to watch them degrade themselves. Now if you watch the film it's shocking, there's nothing arousing about that, but undoubtedly there are people who did get off on it because they're that sick, or people who put up clips of it because they want to see the actresses naked. Moodysson instead gives us shots of the men who are raping Lilya. It's hard to misrepresent that.

This kind of movie should be shown all over the world so ignorant people (teenagers in particular) who only bitch and whines of how they aren't spoiled enough be enlightened that there are countless Liljas elsewhere around the world that literally have nothing at all.

I'm not so sure it's a wasted effort as Kolya (long ago) thought because while the people who see this movie aren't likely to be part of the problem they're not yet part of the solution. If you're not moved to do something - pressuring your gov't representatives, looking into aid agencies, venting on a message board, whatever - at the end of this movie then you probably have no soul. I really do think that it's only by our inaction that we allow these atrocities to continue. It's so easy for us to sit in our comfortable houses or apartments and not do anything about the horrible state of the world because it's not directly affecting us but if we acted we could make a difference. It's like the quote attributed to Edward Burke {but probably not by him) - all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

My only problem with the movie was the choice of music (Metal don't really fit with the tone of the movie) and of course- those hideous wings.

The Rammstein was brutal and probably picked for that reason, it's an awful, brutal thing that happens. I'm so glad the wings were a big point of discussion because I loved them. They were such shabby, awful things. If they'd been Hollywood style wings then I could see the disdain but they fit perfectly with Volodya's idea of Heaven.

I was prepared for utter desolation after reading a bit about it and watching it but the ending was kind of uplifting. I mean, yes, everything that happened was awful and they died tragic and infuriating deaths but they're not suffering any more. Lilya and Volodya are together again and happy. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not this is Moodysson's film and here it exists.

Two other things I wanted to mention while I'm at it. First is Lilya's mother leaving and how it compared to Lilya leaving Volodya. On the surface there are similarities and it's clear that there are meant to be but as they say the devil is in the details. The mother has an obvious responsibility to her daughter and fails that. Moodysson goes out of his way to show that she abandoned her before they left. Volodya is a responsibility that Lilya takes on to herself, if not for her he probably would have died before she left. It's not fair to expect her to continue to prostitute herself when she has (she thinks) a chance at a better life. The other is the flash of her life that she sees as she dies. Some have said this is cliched and it would be if it were her life passing before her eyes. I think what Moodysson was trying to show was her mistake being forgiven, the awful consequences of her actions were replaced by a happier memory and she was free to join Volodya in heaven, with their shabby stupid wings, playing basketball.

I only hope that unlike Alexandra and Rebecka, Oksana can make the jump to more widely known stardom.
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Postby kant1781 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:58 am

At last, another wing lover! :) I agree with everything in your perfect contribution, mpox!
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Postby Agnes&Elin Forever! » Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:00 am

Watched this film for the first time recently, a great film, moves you to tears!

You clearly recognise Moodysson's directing style, and his use of music to emphasize the impact of scenes.

I was very impressed by Oksana Akinsjina as Lilja, anybody seen any of her other films?

I liked the angel-wings as well, surreal scenes when Lilja dream and they talk on the roof, and in a way uplifting at the end in spite of everything.

Not a classic in the same sense as FÅ, but still wonderful in it's own way, but very sad of course.

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Postby fraks » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:06 am

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Postby Agnes&Elin Forever! » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:59 pm

That film is actually available on a Swedish DVD as well

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Oksana also has a small part in The Bourne Supremacy, and this film I have seen.
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Postby mpox » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:14 am

fraks wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syostry

Interesting, that's the same guy who did Bear's Kiss with Rebecka, about a year after Syostry (Sisters).

I imagine that's probably only noted about 10 other places on the forums. :)
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Postby bruno » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:44 pm

After watching FÅ I watched this one as well (it was an honest purchase this time :D ).

I did read some comments here before buying it so I knew what to expect. I knew I was not going to like L4E but I decided to try anyway. I don't argue about the artistic value, the choices in music, the wings in the surreal scene when Volodya and Lilya are dead. Some of these things are fine and moving, IMHO.

But I agree with those that see a moralistic intent from the director. An excessive moralistic intent, for me.
This film is not just a statement of fact. Just for an example, in the scene where she runs away from the police (going to kill herself) you'd expect the policewoman getting curious and following her, not just refilling her gas tank. This film is about moralistic lessons everywhere (if the angel wings can't show that to you, nothing will).

While I cant deny artistic value (and being art so subjective, who could do that?) I fail to grasp the meaning of the film. I feel like the director wanted to poke fun at me: did he think I don't know the world is full of pain and evil and crap?
In this film, where he's going to tell me something I did't know?

I've seen them, the child prostitues, everywhere. In Italy prostitution is forbidden so there're not brothels, with the result prostitutes are on the road everywhere (in recent years, chased from the city centers by the police).
Everyone knows the stories about the lies these girls are told, how their passport is stolen, how they are beaten and put on the street.
Someone (priests, police, NGOs, sometimes the clients themselves) fights to save them. Sometimes the girls denounce their jailers, but often they dont' want to go back to their country so they don't speak... generally speaking, this is a lost cause.

A couple of months ago a woman minister passed a law against prostitution on the street, they are going to work in homes or be arrested by the police. Purpose of the law: that nobody will see them. The law swept the filth under the rug.

So, L4E really tells nothing new to me.
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Postby Agnes&Elin Forever! » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:10 pm

I think it's safe to say Moodysson had an honest intention with this film, but reality is probably a more complex thing.

On the other hand I don't know if it's really meant as a sort of documentary?

Maybe Moodysson primarily made a film about these kids Lilya and Volodya in the former Soviet Union, not a statement about child prostitution?
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Postby bruno » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:16 pm

Agnes&Elin Forever! wrote:Maybe Moodysson primarily made a film about these kids Lilya and Volodya in the former Soviet Union, not a statement about child prostitution?


Well maybe he did both and I don't think Moodysson is not honest, but this theme is too close to home in my country so don't be surprised if the first reaction here can be something like, ok, what the f. is this guy talking about?
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Postby Agnes&Elin Forever! » Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:12 am

This is what Moodysson says about Lilja 4-Ever on the cover to the soundtrack CD of that film:

It was supposed to have been a film about God's goodness, but reality became apparent and it turned out something else.

The result was a film about two children Lilja and Volodja, who live in a country that once was a part of the mighty Soviet Empire, that is now in ruins.

It became a film about longing away, about leaving everything behind, about being left behind, about never giving up, about rich people who think money can buy them anything, about poor people who are forced to sell everything they have (except their heart), about things that happen far away and things that happen on my own street, about cough medicine and glue, about basket ball, about Britney Spears, about carving your name on a bench so that everybody can see that you exist, about being spat at, about giving up, about death, about a friendship that never ends, about a light that never burns out.

And maybe it's little bit about God's goodness also, even though he never answers when Lilja prays to him.
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Postby bruno » Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:27 am

I see.

But instead of a film about God's goodness it came out for me more of an endless scream of desperation.

I couldn't see the surreal scene of winged Volodya and Lilya playing basketball in "paradise" like a happy ending of any sort.
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Postby mpox » Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:19 am

bruno wrote:But instead of a film about God's goodness it came out for me more of an endless scream of desperation.

I couldn't see the surreal scene of winged Volodya and Lilya playing basketball in "paradise" like a happy ending of any sort.

I guess it just depends on your view of what Moodysson meant by that scene. It could be interpreted as a fantasy she has as she dies or it could be real. I'd read beforehand that Moodysson was religious so while what happened to them was a tragedy it felt uplifting because they were in a new existence where they didn't have to be cold or lonely or hungry or scared or hurt anymore.

Of course I also felt anger, but that's good. Moodysson meant this film to be provocative, to draw attention to something repugnant (if I remember right the story is based loosely around real life events). There's an old saying about sunlight being the best disinfectant; this is the sort of crime that can't exist if people don't turn a blind eye to it and this is him saying: wake up, it can and does happen here.

I may not have enjoyed this film as much as I did FÅ but I do think it was his best film.
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