Movie Review:

Capitalism’s victims

Lilya 4-ever, dir. Lukas Moodysson

Lilya 4-ever is a heart-wrenching story. It is a film about abandonment and the betrayal of trust by individuals and government leaders promising a better world.

Enter Lilya’s world, somewhere in the post-Soviet Union.

Lilya is precocious, yet still a child of 16. Her mother, left to raise Lilya as a single parent, breaks her promise to bring Lilya with her and her new boyfriend to America. This callous selfish act brings Lilya’s fragile but somewhat stable existence to an end and begins Lilya’s journey into a world of exploitation, fear and despair.

The metaphors in this film are clear. McDonald’s food packaging is seen throughout the film, representing a replacement and downward spiral of a way of life, life that had given people a reason to strive to fulfill a goal of an egalitarian society.

Lilya and her little companion Volodja enter an abandoned factory, once bustling with the activity of workers, now a dank, dreary place with a leaking roof and damaged walls. Lilya tells Volodja – pointing to what was the cafeteria – “Here is where my mother worked helping prepare meals for the workers.”

The creators of this film use angelic images to soften the relentless assault on Lilya’s emotional and physical freedom. One can hardly imagine that Lilya’s experience is real, but instead hopes it is just a movie. But it is real.

Lilya and Volodja represent too many children who are the victims of capitalism in its last stages, and as it dies it becomes more ruthless and damaging to humankind.

Unfortunately this film has not had wide distribution but check your local listings or wait for its release on home video.

– Gabriel Falsetta (