Ever since his debut was heralded as “a young master’s first masterpiece” by none other than Ingmar Bergman, director Lukas Moodysson has been hailed internationally as one of Sweden’s greatest filmmaking talents, delighting and confounding audiences in equal measure.
Moodysson’s first film, Fucking Åmål (released overseas as Show Me Love), tells the story of awkward smalltown teenager Agnes and her crush on popular classmate Elin, which unexpectedly blossoms into real-life romance; it was quickly heralded as a new queer cinema touchstone and one of the most authentic portrayals of youthful relationships on film. He swiftly followed this with the bittersweet, satirical 1970sset Together, in which the inhabitants of a commune try to reconcile their ideals with their hearts’ desires.
Having made a name for himself as the new master of tragicomic, feelgood humanism, Moodysson suddenly frustrated expectations with a trio of startlingly confrontational works: the hauntingly bleak Lilya 4ever, based on a real-life case of a Russian girl sold into sex trafficking in Sweden; the abrasive and semi-improvised A Hole in My Heart, detailing the messy (un)making of an amateur porn video; and the avantgarde Container, narrated in its English version by Jena Malone (Donnie Darko).
After making his mainstream English language debut with the expansive Mammoth, starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams, Moodysson returned to his roots with We Are The Best! (based on a graphic novel by his wife and ‘consigliere’ Coco), the charming and funny tale of three schoolgirls starting a punk band in early1980s Stockholm.
Available together for the first time, Moodysson’s eclectic filmography can now be appreciated as the work of a singular filmmaking voice, as avowedly uncompromising and unabashedly political as it is keenly observed, deeply felt and frequently hilarious.