Lilya 4-ever

The 16-year-old title heroine (Oksana Akinshina), living in the former Soviet Union, is abandoned when her mother leaves for the States, befriended by an equally desperate 14-year-old boy, and ultimately forced into white slavery in Sweden after being promised a job and furnished with a fake passport. For all the social realism of this 2002 feature, it still seems rather dubious; writer-director Lukas Moodysson lays on the misery and the tear-jerking dream sequences (complete with angel feathers), not to mention the techno tunes, seldom bothering with character nuance or social analysis. The production company was the one behind Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark, and one finds here a similar kind of sadism posing as humanism, albeit without von Trier’s flair for melodrama. The result is grimly effective, but it made me long for Hollywood junk. In Russian and Swedish with subtitles. 109 min. (JR)

This entry was posted in Featured Texts. Bookmark the permalink.