Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Lilya 4-Ever 2002

Lilja 4-Ever

Directed by Lukas Moodysson

Sweden In Russian and Swedish with English subtitles
109 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Lars Jönsson


Ulf Brantås


Michal Leszczylowski


Nathan Larson


Oksana Akinishina (Lilya)
Artiom Bogutyarski (Volodya)
Elina Benenson (Natasha)
Liliya Shinkaryova (Aunt Anna)
Pavel Ponomaryov (Andrei)
Tomas Neumann (Witek)
Lyubov Agapova (Lilya’s mother)
Tonu Kark (Sergei)
Anastasia Bedredinova (Neighbour)
Nikolai Bents (Neighbour’s boyfriend)


Venice, Toronto, Vancouver, London 2002; Rotterdam 2003


“Lilya is a chirpy girl of sixteen, sunk in a stagnant backwater of what used to be the Soviet Union. She is, to all intents and purposes, orphaned when her witch of a mother abandons her to seek a life in America. Lilya starts with practically nothing and goes downhill from there, winding up selling her body to the vulpine patrons of a bar. What redeems the movie – what renders a squalid experience quite sacred in its intensity – is the vehemence with which the writer and director, Lukas Moodysson, asks whether his heroine has also sold her soul. The caustic portrait that he paints of his native Sweden, to which the deluded Lilya is transported in her quest for a future, has brought him both outrage and acclaim; what is beyond doubt is the brio of his storytelling and the branding of the girl’s misfortune onto our hearts and nerves.” — Anthony Lane, New Yorker 

“When Moodysson released his début feature film, Fucking Åmål, he received a sensational endorsement from Ingmar Bergman who said it was a ‘young master’s first masterpiece’. As far as I can see, this terrible, forthright excursion into the heart of darkness represents a grown master’s mature masterpiece.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian