Monday, July 18, 2005

Lilja 4-Ever

Moodysson's relentlessly downbeat film suffers in comparison with Joshua Marston's Maria Full of Grace I think.

Lilja, like Maria, suffers a sudden, escalating collapse of all the things that might have made life in her hope-drained situation bearable. Compared to Maria, she's a far more clear-cut victim of the cruel turn of events that sucks her towards her fate in the comfortable world.

We were both ended up a little irritated that the fate Lilja is shown running from at the beginning arrives at the terminus of this downhill tumble with no further unanticipated refinements.

Moodysson has apparently claimed a redemptive Christian message, but can only broach this on screen by adding some near ridiculous scenes involving nativity play- style angel wings. Some may argue that Joshua Marston's film pulled its punches in ways that Moodysson single-mindedly avoids. For me though, those pulled-punches resulted in a more interesting, and nuanced perspective, where the human impact of an unpleasant trade is shown to be knotty enough to merit serious reflection.

The logline for Lilja 4-Ever could well have been Life is shit and then you die. Gloomy for sure, but ultimately not all that challenging.

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