Vol 53 No 1, 2014
A Special Issue on Lukas Moodyson
Concentrating on the film’s reception in the United States, this article analyses Fucking Åmal (Show Me Love, 1998) according to its status as a foreign film. The film’s two main themes, lesbian love story and small-town boredom, are explored, as well as the film’s connection to the genres of romantic comedy and the American teen movie. Applying queer theory I assert that the lesbian theme is central to Show Me Love, where the narrative’s acknowledgement and acceptance of the main characters’ queer identity transcends traditional gender roles and drives the transformation of heteronormative space and community into queer space and community. The tendency of critics to downplay or disregard the lesbian theme while emphasizing the film’s representation of small-town boredom and focusing on the film’s coming-of-age story ignores the radical transformative power of queer acceptance and acknowledgement in general discourse. In my analysis I question the ethical and societal consequences of such readings, exploring the discourse surrounding Show Me Love since its release in the United States and asking why it matters to read Show Me Love as the lesbian representation it truly is.
(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Like many of Lukas Moodysson’s films, Lilja 4-ever (Lilya 4-Ever, 2002) centres on a complex female protagonist on the verge of adulthood. Lilya is based on a documented case of suicide by a trafficked young woman from the former USSR, whose eventual redemption, or at least her dream of escape, is self-consciously visualized in sequences featuring Lilya and her friend as winged angels. This tension in registers, between fantasy and social realism and between melodrama and societal critique, opens up interpretive venues that paradoxically signal both the film’s protest against, and implication within, ideologies and practices of neoliberalism and globalization. Moodysson’s questioning of neoliberalism and globalization within a double framework of gender and religiosity point to his desire to find alternate (political) discourses outside the dominant ones. This ambition, however, figures Lilya as a victim of abuse on multiple levels: as trafficked girl, as didactic vehicle for a political message and, arguably, also as part of a postmodernist experiment that reinserts a redemptive spirituality into a context marked by capitalist and political secularism.
(Uppsala Universitet (Uppsala University))
This article utilizes an intersectional approach to examine Lukas Moodysson’s film Mammoth (2009). When the film premiered it was by some criticized for its over-explicit critique of globalization and its portrayals of the female characters as scapegoats. My aim is to show how the film’s critique of globalization entails even more complexity. An intersectional reading of Mammoth reveals that the film employs a structure of pronounced narrative layers to illustrate how different axes of stratifications are entangled on a global level, such as how the situation of the characters are determined by an interplay of their gender, class and race. The film is thus a rich example of why a sensitivity to intersectionality when mapping processes of globalization is highly important. At the same time there is an ambivalence with regard to how the female characters are represented, as the film in some respects fails to acknowledge their agency.
(Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario / University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
This article engages with the field of girlhood studies to offer a reading of Lukas Moodysson’s feature film Vi är bäst! (We are the Best!, 2013). Two intertwined yet apparently political and cultural systems are examined: the Swedish secular, egalitarian welfare states of the 1930s to the 1970s, often called Folkhemmet (the People’s Home), and the first-wave Punk movement from the late 1970s and early 1980s, imported from abroad but itself a significant youth subculture in Sweden. Punk offers the possibility of new forms of inclusion and participation within a musical subgenre or movement for girls and young women; in the Swedish context, this allows girls and young women to imagine a position outside the consensus culture. However, in line with Moodysson’s other films, We are the Best! does not challenge heteronormative paradigms in ways that are unproblematic or necessarily radical.
(Gustavus Adolphus College)
This article provides an introductory overview of contemporary Swedish filmmaker, author, and poet Lukas Moodysson’s 2002 book-length poem Vad gör jag här (What am I doing here). It assesses, in particular, the shifting narrative voices and settings of the 78-page-long poem, working to show the ways in which the poem’s fragmented narrative engages with the contemporary world for both the individual and the collective. It also situates the poem as an artistic touchstone for Moodysson, revealing the ways in which the poem both reflects the artist’s literary and cinematic work, pre-Vad gör jag här, as well as ways that it portends that which follows it. An excerpt of an English-language translation of the poem concludes the article.
We present an excerpt from the beginning of Lukas Moodyson's Vad gör jag här (What am I Doing Here) in English translation. The translation, in its entirety, is forthcoming from Norvik Press.
Cover image: Lukas Moodysson. Photographer: Teemu Rajala