Lukas Moodysson is considered by many to be one of Europe's most important and talented contemporary filmmakers, and this collection presents his first four works.
Moodysson's debut Show Me Love was hailed by Ingmar Bergman as "a young master's first masterpiece", and this is no exaggeration. The film explores the frustrations of being a teenager in a small town in Sweden and centres on Agnes, a lonely sixteen year old girl and the beautiful and popular Elin, whom Agnes is secretly in love with. This is a real feel-good film - tender, sensitive, realistic and funny. An outstanding achievement for a first-time director.
Together is another feel-good film about life in a commune in 70's Sweden. The film swings between comedy and drama, between the poignant, the uplifting and the sad - but throughout the whole thing, you get a strong sense of the filmmaker's tender affection for the characters he is portraying. There are no bad guys really. This is probably the one characteristic that unites all of Moodysson's films.
After the huge success of Moodysson's first two films, he clearly felt that he could afford to make something more challenging, or perhaps he just didn't want to get a reputation for making feel-good movies. Whatever the reason, LILJA 4-EVER is about as harrowing, challenging and socially-realistic as cinema gets. Lilja is 16 years old and lives in the former Soviet Union. Abandoned by her mother, she has to turn to prostitution to make ends meet. When she meets and starts going out with an attractive, friendly young man who lives in Sweden and says he can get her a job and a place to live there, she jumps at the chance of a better life - but the dream soon turns into a nightmare... The direction is absolutely superb and Moodysson manages to make a genuinely beautiful film out of some of the darkest subject matter imaginable. Oksana Akinsjina is outstanding as Lilja, and the enchanting and infectious optimism that she brings to the character help to make the film more bearable than it might otherwise have been.
But if you thought LILYA 4-EVER was dark and unsettling, you ain't seen nothing yet... A Hole in My Heart is a profoundly difficult and challenging film about four people in a small suburban apartment in Sweden, three of whom are making a hardcore porn film together. The fourth, the teenage son of one of the people making the film, hides in his room listening to industrial music. Visually and thematically, A Hole in My Heart is a stunning achievement, exploring controversial and complex issues around human behaviour and sexuality with fearlessness and sensitivity. Reminiscent in some ways of the work of Lars von Trier, this film marks the continuing evolution of Moodysson as a filmmaker. Personally, I can't wait to see what he comes out with next!