Teenage angst was never this heartwarming., 13 October 2004
Author: el-p from The North East, England
Having just recently seen director Lukas Moodysson’s teen prostitution exposé, Lilja 4-ever, I was expecting a similarly bleak film in Fucking Åmål. Not so. This is the story of two teenage girls who find each other, against peer and family pressure, and their own insecurities.
It is the differences between the two girls that initially make their relationship so touching. Agnes is a loner, with only a girl in a wheelchair for a friend, who she soon insults and alienates. Before she meets Erin, we rarely see her without tears in her eyes. On the surface, Erin couldn’t be more different. She can pick and choose boyfriends and has dozens of friends. However, she is disillusioned with this life. She fights constantly with her sister, has falsely been given a reputation as a slut by those in her school, and, unlike Agnes, does not have a stable family. So, when she discovers that Erin is a lesbian, she is intrigued, if a little insensitive at first.
The bulk of the narrative concerns Erin’s attempts at coping with her homosexuality, but Moodysson also provides us with a snapshot of smalltown teenage ennui. The teens have nothing better to do than to sit around, waiting for night to come so they can get drunk, and/or have sex. This obviously leaves a lot of time for petty insults and peer pressure to build, which is the dominant them of the film, or rather, accepting difference, and not caving in to peer pressure. Continue reading
A parallel film to Vilgot Sjöman’s controversial I Am Curious-Yellow, I Am Curious–Blue also follows young Lena on her journey of self-discovery. In Blue, Lena confronts issues of religion, sexuality, and the prison system, while at the same time exploring her own personal relationships. Like Yellow, Blue freely traverses the lines between fact and fiction, employing a mix of dramatic and documentary techniques. Criterion is proud to present Vilgot Sjöman’s infamous I Am Curious-Blue.
Seized by customs upon entry to the United States, subject of a heated court battle, and banned in numerous cities, Vilgot Sjöman’s I Am Curious–Yellow is one of the most controversial films of all time. This landmark document of Swedish society during the sexual revolution has been declared both obscene and revolutionary. It tells the story of Lena (Lena Nyman), a searching and rebellious young woman, and her personal quest to understand the social and political conditions in 1960s Sweden, as well as her bold exploration of her own sexual identity. I Am Curious–Yellow is a subversive mix of dramatic and documentary techniques, attacking capitalist injustices and frankly addressing the politics of sexuality. Criterion is proud to present Vilgot Sjöman’s infamous I Am Curious-Yellow.
The taxidriver Paul and his girlfriend, the journalist Marianne (Solveig Andersson) starts to argue when Paul drags home his father, who is an alcoholic. At a party the bored Paul seduces a willing blonde in the room next to all the other guests. The next morning he wakes up between Marianne and her sister Beryl. The next couple of days are very hectic for Paul, with striptease, women and a meeting with the sadistic Mr X. Beryl escapes Mr X dressed only in a minkfur filled with drugs. Very dangerous…! Continue reading
Minna, 19, lives in a small dusty town. She and her friend Simone roam the streets, have tedious jobs, and try to entertain themselves by falling in love with the wrong men. Minna is still affected by her mother’s death a few years ago which has left her with heartache and uncertainty. Gradually Minna understands that she has to break up from her old life. One day opportunity comes knocking and Minna sees a chance to move on. A touching and comical film about a young girl’s quest to find love and happiness.
Engaging, suspenseful, well-acted, atmospheric, and technically well-made Swedish thriller, based on the first book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy (which I have not read; Amazon.com/AdLibris.se). Clichés and little originality notwithstanding, there is a certain freshness to the proceedings, and the film is one of the better Swedish entries in the genre. The movie contains a couple of very disturbing and intense scenes that linger in the mind. While the ending makes the film feel slightly too long, it also ties up a few loose ends quite nicely. Michael Nyqvist convincingly portrays Mikael Blomkvist, but his character is underdeveloped; Noomi Rapace is excellent and memorable as Lisbeth Salander; in a smaller role, Peter Andersson is appropriately disgusting and slimy as Nils Bjurman. Sure-handed direction by Niels Arden Oplev.
Peter Ericson Continue reading
Quote:Erika has it all: a good job, lots of friends and a secure relationship. Until the day it all falls apart. Suddenly this perfect life means nothing, and the feelings she once was able to control are no longer within reach. She starts going to group therapy and meets other people suffering from various forms of trauma. One day Erika and this eclectic group of four people decide to take matters into their own hands and heads off together in search of a way out. They start checking into hotels – a place of complete anonymity where one can wake up as a different person. Continue reading