Arrow Video The Lukas Moodysson Collection: Lilya 4-Ever (2002)

With Lilya 4-Ever, Lukas Moodysson moves from stories of children dealing with growing up or living in a commune with a very different teen. This is based on Danguolė Rasalaitė, a 16-year-old girl from Lithuania who had come to Sweden in 2000 and was kept by a pimp who forced her to repay him for travel expenses by prostituting herself. She escaped only to later by assaulted by her boyfriend and two others, leading to her jumping off a bridge and dying. Three letters that she had told the story, which became a major story in the country. In fact, this film has been used in Eastern European countries. to warn young women about human trafficking.

Lilya Michailova (Oksana Akinshina) believes that she is leaving with her mother for America, but instead she’s abandoned to be with her aunt, who takes her nice apartment and leaves her behind. Her school life is not much better, as a rumor begins that she’s a prostitute and she ends up raped before she decides to just follow the stories and start making money with her body. This journey takes her away from her only friend Volodya (Artyom Bogucharsky), an abused boy who soon ends his life, taking the form of an angel who tries to atone for his death and fix Lilya’s life. Yet by the time she gets to Sweden, another man has lied to her and she’s trapped by a violent pimp. By the end, the bridge is waiting to take her away from this world and to two potential happy endings, one in which she changes her path and another where she and Volodya make it to some form of the afterlife.

Volodja has a lesson in this, as he says, “I killed myself and went to Heaven and yeah, it’s really good in Heaven. But I regret it, ’cause I wanted to live on Earth a little longer. You remain dead for all eternity, but you’re alive only for a brief moment.”

Moodysson has really made a turn in this film, showing a dark side of life and not just alienation and anxiety. It’s a depressing film yet has moments of joy buried inside.

The limited edition The Lukas Moodysson Collection from Arrow includes high definition blu rays of seven films, as well as interviews with Moodysson and other cast and crew, moderated by film programmer Sarah Lutton. There’s also a two hundred page featuring new writing by Peter Walsh, excerpts from the original press kits for each film, interviews with and directors’ statements from Moodysson and essays on his films from a 2014 special issue of the Nordic culture journal Scandinavica by C. Claire Thomson, Helga H. Lúthersdóttir, Elina Nilsson, Scott MacKenzie and Anna Westerståhl Stenport and Kjerstin Moody.

Extras include interviews with Moodysson and Östholm, a Guardian interview with Moodysson, a trailer and an image gallery.

You can get this set from MVD.

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