Birkbeck Cinema, 8 June 2018,  6.00 pm
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Lilya 4-Ever Lukas Moodysson
Sweden, 2002, 109 minutes

Lilya 4-Ever is set soon after the fall of the USSR. The film was inspired by the story of Danguolė Rasalaitė, a 16-year-old Lithuanian who had been trafficked to Sweden and sexually enslaved. On 7 January 2000 she jumped to her death from a bridge in Malmö. When Lilya’s mother spots a chance to get away to America with her new lover, she leaves Lilya behind. Though things go from bad to worse for her, it is one of the achievements of Oksana Akinshina’s performance that it communicates Lilya’s capacity for happiness, mischief and goodness. When Lilya imagines she has found love with Andrei (Pavel Ponomaryov), it proves to be another betrayal: she is tricked into going to Sweden with the promise of a job. Instead, she is trafficked into sexual slavery. Her only real friend has been Volodya (Artyom Bogucharsky), a child who spends most of his time on the streets to avoid his cruel father. Moodysson’s Christianity informs the story—especially in the way Volodya, having committed suicide, seems to come back to Lilya as an angel. But it’s doubtful whether anything can redeem a world as utterly fallen as the one Moodysson shows.

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