AKA: Lilja 4-ever
Directed by: Lukas Moodysson
Starring: Oksana Akinshina (Lilya), Artyom Bogucharskiy (Volodya), Pavel Ponomaryov (Andrei), Tonu Kark (Viktor)
Country: Sweden, European Cinema
Language: Russian (English Subs)
Genres: Rape, Teensploitation, Old-Young, Human Trafficking-Prostitution, Family
Plot – Spoilers:
A teenager Lilya who has grown up in the post-Soviet squalor and decay that her town has to offer, is buzzing when she hears that her mother will be leaving for the United States to join her boyfriend whom she met online. The images of the US that Lilya has been exposed to, promise a far better and exciting life. But a few days before they’re due to leave, her mother tells Lilya she won’t be joining her on the journey. The shattering of Lilya’s dreams from here is slow but sure, and she eventually starts selling herself when the bitter cold and lack of food offer prostitution as the quickest and easiest route to survival.
Lilya is a spirited girl with an attitude – like when she’s being called a whore by the local boys, she doesn’t scurry away in embarrassment. But it’s the slow burial of this spirit and her will to fight by the end of the movie, that makes this one of the deeper examinations of teen angst and prostitution.
The two occasions Lilya is on the threshold of leaving her town:
Her spirits are high, she is more conscious of her surroundings, and she almost reminds herself that there is nothing worthy here that she’s leaving behind, other than her miserable friend Volodya. During a second watch of the movie, these scenes are heightened because you know what’s looming ahead for Lilya. It’s like a couple of lines from ‘Forever Young’ (a remix of which plays when Lilya and Andrei are out having fun) are running in your head:
Hoping for the best, but expecting the worst…
The Unloved is another movie that has a powerful scene involving the abandonment of a daughter by a mother.