Lilja 4-Ever (Denmark/Sweden; 109 min.)

directed by: Lukas Moodysson
starring: Oksana Akinshina; Artyom Bogucharsky; Lyubov Agapova
Lilja 4-Ever
Diane says: "I liked what Ivy said after we watched LILJA which she kindly showed at
her house: it's a call to action. As this young woman got caught up in increasingly oppressive situations, and people around her looked the other way, my conscience said, 'Why aren't I doing anything to help people like her?'

"For the same reason, this film seemed more like generic social commentary than a personal story, so I didn't respond emotionally. It was billed as a real tear-jerker, but no tears from me. We talked about our most bleak movies: for me, it's still BREAKING THE WAVES.

I loved helmer Moodysson's TOGETHER. This film has a very different tone, but there are still the two 'kids' who get each other through..."

Esmé says: "This movie killed me! So sad, harsh, relentless and dark. Great performances by Lilja and her little friend, Volvodya (A young soviet girl is excited that she and her mother are emigrating to America. She is disappointed when her mother goes without her, promishing to send for her. It all goes steeply down hill after that. I don't want to give too much away, but think 'White Slavery.'"
Ivy says: "I finally saw Lilya 4-Ever on a screener and was very impressed with the film. This filmmaker has a number of successful films under his belt, SHOW ME LOVE and TOGETHER, and he continues his successes with this film. LILYA is a change for him, focusing primarily on a former USSR area that
eventually ends up in Sweden. The story also lacks hope and focuses on the downturn a life can take when circumstances don't go well.

"Lilya is a very strong girl, although she wouldn't be considered a good kid her strength is shown to be greater than her fellow characters. Her only friend is a small boy who lives in the same apartment complex who is already given up on hope even though he can't be more than 11 or 12 years old.

"I don't want to give too much of the plot away, so I will stop here on that front. The music in the film is really wonderful and although the film is very dark, I truly enjoyed the power Lilya has. I think that the film must be as much political for the filmmaker as art." 4.5 cats

Michael says: "After the joyous optimism of community featured in TOGETHER, Moodysson shifts gears radically with a starkly bleak portrait of Lilya, a young girl living in an unnamed Russian city. Abandoned by her mother at age 16 so she can travel to the U.S. with a boyfriend, Lilya is left to care for herself even as the money promised form her mother trickles away. As Lilya's life begins a spiralling descent into the horror of the sex-trade, only the close friendship with a young isloated boy provides her with any solace. Moodysson treats his adult characters as demonic, from Lilya's Aunt Anna, to the men who she must deal with in the latter half of the film. Yet even at the film's bleakest, Moodysson refuses to give up hope completely. This strong condemnation of the sex trade is a powerful character drama that will leave even the most jaded viewers affected." 4 cats