<Awards and Nomination>
Official Selection – Toronto Film Festival
Official Selection – Venice Film Festival
European Film Festival – Nomination of Best Actress and
Director: Lukas Moodysson
Cast: Oksana Akinshina, Artyom Bogucharsky,
Lyubov Agapova, Liliya Shinkaryova
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: M18 (Sexual Content)
Released Date: 8 December 2005
16 year-old Lilya lives in a poor and dreary suburb somewhere
in the former Soviet Union.
She dreams of a better life. Her mother has moved to the States
with a new man and Lilya is waiting to be sent for.
no letters or money arrive from her mother, it becomes obvious
that Lilya has been abandoned. She’s forced to move
into a tiny, run-down flat with no electricity or heating.
Heartbroken and without money, Lilya’s situation becomes
desperate. Her only friend is the 11 year-old boy Volodya,
who sometimes is allowed to sleep on her sofa. They hang around
together and fantasise to make life a little easier.
day, hope arrives when Lilya falls in love with Andrei. He
asks her to follow him to Sweden to start a new life. Little
Volodya is jealous and suspicious - but Lilya packs her bags.
Suddenly she´s sitting on a plane bound for Sweden not
knowing what will happen next…
Watching this film about the dejected youths from the former
Soviet bloc, and in particular, the tale of one young girl
who prostitutes herself, is hard to grapple with. You feel
the sense of isolation, the appeal for help, the desperation;
you want to reach out but you somehow can't, and this sense
of inability overwhelms you as the cycle continues.
film begins with really blaring loud music shutting out the
cries of a bewildered girl as a shaky camera follows behind,
before we are brought back 3 months to where it all began.
Lilya is a 16 year old girl who gets abandoned by her single
parent mother in order to follow her boyfriend to America.
Lilya was part of the emigration plan, but at the last moment,
finds out the truth behind the lies.
with any teenager, without proper parental guidance, she gets
involved with undesirable
characters - smoking, drinking, even sniffing glue, and even
had her best friend betray her integrity. Her aunt cheats
her out of her lush apartment in exchange for a dinghy, smelly
flat, and soon, she finds herself in dire straits as she has
no money, and no job.
she pimps herself at a nightclub she regulars, and makes money
by selling her body. It's a shame really, that a beautiful
teenage girl had to resort to this to make ends meet. You
wonder about underaged sex, and the predators all round waiting
to pounce, but then again, wonder that she is fully aware
of her actions, and consented to having do this.
you might come to terms with the first act - willing seller,
willing buyer, cynically see it as a market transaction, the
second act brings a separate "how about" side, which
will, and should, incense every moral fibre in you. Befriended
by Andrei, she soon falls in love with him, and is smitten
by his plans for them to migrate to Sweden to live a better
life. He promised a job and a place to stay. Has she finally
met her knight in shining armour, who is whisking her away
to his castle on a white horse?
the one true angel in her life, is a young boy called Volodya.
They share similar
backgrounds in having their family members abandoning them,
and find themselves also being the outcasts amongst their
peers. They click well, because of Volodya's easy going nature,
and their sharing of dreams to make it out of the slums one
Andrei, Volodya smells a rat, and warns Lilya time and time
again that nothing is as good as it seems. But love does blind
oneself sometimes, and Lilya is to suffer the heartbreak of
another unfulfilled vow. The audience too, will feel the danger
looming, but can do absolutely nothing as Lilya reacts naively.
doubt that Lilya is no angel herself, but no teen deserves
the second act. While nothing too explicit is shown on screen,
it is still not easy watching them. The movie doesn't shove
the message down your throat with great might, it gets played
out in such a straight manner, you can't help but to sit up
and realize it, that it is just not right.
must go to Oksana Akinshina, the actress playing Lilya, for
bringing out the various emotions, and subtly giving Lilya
a sense of vulnerability beneath her tough exterior. Artyom
Bogucharsky, who plays Volodya, deserves mention too, for
being that rational young lad and exuding that wise demeanour
for an 11 year old.
in various film festivals worldwide, Lilya 4-ever is a grim
reminder about the plights of
children exploited in prostitution, that each have a story
to their current misery, which should not be used to have
them engaged in acts against their wishes. Their dreams and
aspirations for leading a better life, should not be used
as baits and having them turned into broken promises.
powerful drama highlighting the plights of sexually exploited
children - You will be
emotionally engaged, and enraged)
by Stefan Shih