Posted: 2005This great film was the inspiration for this website. Thank you Lukas Moodysson!
(Summary put simply) Lilya 4-Ever is set in the former Soviet Union but could be anywhere in the world. Lilya and Volodya are just like many children all over the world. They are poor, their parents have no time for them because they have their own problems, and they are hoping for a better life. Teachers, relatives and adults are also too busy with their own problems so the children can only turn to each other for help. They try smoking, drinking and sniffing glue for fun but they are pretty depressed because there does not seem a way out of their situation. Along comes Andrei with a promise of a job in Sweden and a nice flat, clothes etc. I will not spoil the story but just say that life goes from bad to worse and the film shows very vividly how ordinary people, without proper protection, can easily be led into a life of misery and despair
Lilya 4-Ever (2002) Directed by Lukas Moodysson
Also known as Lilja 4-Ever, this compelling drama tells of Lilya, 16, and Volodya, 11, two lovable but very much unloved children living in what was once the Soviet Union. Focusing on their lives, the film makes powerful statements about issues that are relevant all over the world. It is also a cry for help for those unfortunate people caught up in the terrible injustice and inhumanity that is still so evident in our so-called civilised societies.
The background of poverty has scenes not dissimilar to cities throughout the world. The general air is one of depression, apathy and anger but Lilja is happy and hopeful because her mother has met a man through a dating agency and they are going to live in America. But her mother leaves her behind, she is forced to leave her flat and a girl friend suggests Lilya is a prostitute rather than admit she is one herself. Lilja is verbally abused by everyone in the neighbourhood and she soon finds herself living on the street befriended by young Volodya, who himself has been thrown out of his home by his drunken father.
Lilya talks Volodya out of committing suicide and Volodya vows to save her life in return. With nothing to do and no money, they smoke, drink, sniff glue and take any tablets they can find. Again, no different than many young people around the world. After the social services inform her that her mother has disowned her, and with no help from anyone including her aunt, Lilja prostitutes herself in desperation, and is overjoyed that she can buy some food and a basketball birthday present for Volodya. And she meets Andrei who appears to genuinely care for her. Volodya warns her that he only wants to sleep with her but Lilya falls for his charm and believes his promise of a job picking vegetables in Sweden. "Picking vegetables in Winter?", asks Volodya. Lilja asks Andrei if Volodya can come too and Andrei replies that it is not out of the question. He will inquire. Then he brings a forged passport. "There could be a problem at the border because you are not 18", he explains. Then he puts her on the plane (at the last minute he cannot come with her because his grandmother has been taken ill) and says he will see her in a couple of days.
Of course, her life goes from bad to worse after that. It is quite horrific but in reality victims of human trafficking often have even worse experiences. The movie is so heart-wrenching that you will cry. It shows the reality of the modern world so powerfully that you will want to do something about it. I hope this website will help you help people like Lilya. Through understanding the root causes, writing letters and joining together with people who also have a heart, we can hopefully spread a little love into places where it is so desperately needed.