LILJA 4-EVER

Sweden, Denmark

Synopsis

16 year-old Lilya lives in a poor and dreary suburb somewhere in the former Soviet Union. She dreams of a better life. Her mother has moved to the States with a new man and Lilya is waiting to be sent for. When no letters or money arrive from her mother, it becomes obvious that Lilya has been abandoned. She's forced to move into a tiny, run-down flat with no electricity or heating. Heartbroken and without money, Lilya's situation becomes desperate. Her only friend is the 11 year-old boy Volodya, who sometimes is allowed to sleep on her sofa. They hang around together and fantasize to make life a little easier. One day, hope arrives when Lilya falls in love with Andrei. He asks her to follow him to Sweden to start a new life. Little Volodya is jealous and suspicious - but Lilya packs her things. Suddenly she's sitting on a plane bound for Sweden not knowing what will happen next.

Director's Statement

lt is very hard to say exactly when or how the idea came to me," he says. "After Together I just knew I wanted to go deeper in my next film. The moments in your life, when you get these absolutely clear ideas, are very hard to describe. I know when it happened, I know what kind of music I was listening to, but I'll keep that to myself.
However, I don't know if it had been stored in my mind for a long time before then. Once I had the idea for the story, I knew the whole universe in it. lt encompassed the personal tragedy — Lilya's — and a bigger political reality. Then it felt like the film was already there. I did some research, but the story really came to me quite finished.
I had travelled very little in those countries before, and initially I hadn't decided that the place would be unnamed, but I knew it had to be a raped society — a collapsed empire. However, I didn't want anyone to say that one specific country was to blame for that situation. Though the story centres on the characters, the society around them is very important too. lt could have taken place in Mexico, because it is about the major gap between the rich and the poor people as well as countries and how simple it is for wealthy nations to exploit poor ones.
We live in a culture, where you can buy anything. You can buy people, their labour or their intestines — a kidney from India or Turkey — TV-shovvs like Ricki Lake is also a trade of lives. My film is about that world. I'm not blaming the poor countries, but the rich ones who exploit them. In today's glob-alized world Swedish companies can move their factories to poorer countries, and pay close to nothing for the labour. This causes even further desperation for those, who don't have anything.

Director's Biography

Lukas Moodysson was born in 1969 in the south of Sweden.
Long before trying his hand at filmmaking he published a collection of poetry when he was just 17, which was followed by several books of poetry and a novel.
He graduated from Dramatiska Institutet, where he made a number of short films, before he started working with Memfis Film. The short film "Talk" was followed in 1998 by his feature debut "Fucking Ämäl" (aka "Show me love"). A major hit with audiences and critics alike and praised by filmmaking legend Ingmar Bergman - Moodysson was soon considered the great new hope of the Swedish film industry. "Fucking Ämäl" went on to world-wide distribution and picked up several awards and nominations, including four Swedish Film Awards and a nomination as Best European Film of the Year by the European Film Academy.
Lukas Moodysson's next film, "Together" ("Tillsammans"), more than lived up to his debut and became an even bigger hit. lt premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2000, and was a bona-fide box-office hit across the world. lt established Moodysson on the international filmmaking scene, both commercially and artistically. "Together" was featured on several major US and UK newspapers' "film-of-the-year" lists in 2001.
In 2000 Lukas Moodysson was also co-writer of the award-winning Swedish TV-series "The New Country", (directed by Geir-Hansteen Jörgensen).
Lukas Moodysson lives in Malmö with his wife and two sons. "Lilya 4-ever" is his third feature film.

Filmography:

SHOWDOWN IN THE UNDERWORLD (SHORT) 1995
TALK (SHORT) 1997
FUCKING ÄMÄL (AKA SHOW ME LOVE) 1998
THE NEW COUNTRY (CO-WRITER) 2000
TOGETHER 2000
LILYA 4-EVER 2002
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Lukas Moodysson

Written by: Lukas Moodysson

Produced by: Lars Jönsson

Cinematography: Ulf Brantås

Editing: Michal Leszczylowski

Costume Design: Denise Östholm

Make-Up & Hair: Jessica Simonsson

Original Score: Nathan Larson

Sound Design: Niclas Merits

Main Cast: Oksana Akinshina (Lilja), Artiom Bogucharskij (Volodya), Elina Benenson (Natasha), Liliya Shinkaryova (Aunt Anna), Pavel Ponomaryov (Andrei), Tomas Neuman (Witek), Lyubov Agapova (Lilja's Mother), Tõnu Kark (Sergei ), Anastasiya Bedredinova (Neighbor), Nikolai Bentsler (Natasha's Boyfriend)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Film 2002
  • European Actress 2002
  • Feature Film Selection 2002