We Are the Best!: three teenage girls embrace counter-culture and form a punk band in 1980s Stockholm. Directed by controversial Swedish auteur Lukas Moodyson, Adapted from his wives graphic novel. Moodyson is the back in his wheelhouse; fly-on-the-wall documentary style retro Sweden; and it’s what he does best. He’s also great at capturing snapshots of youth that transport you right back to your childhood – of which there are plenty in this movie. Plot-wise, it pretty much follows the same arc as his movies, particularly Fucking Amal (Show me Love), but with younger kids – unfortunately, it’s not quite as powerful a coming-of-age story. Together was all about family, Fucking Amal was a love story two girls, but We Are the Best tries to juggle family, girls, boyfriends, and punk… making it feel less focused. Another Moodyson-stamped nostalgic and enjoyable trip down memory lane, with good music and all of the teenage feels.
New mini-feature about the great use of great songs to make a great scene even better.
Song: “Mein Herz brennt” by German ‘Industrial Metal’ group Rammstein
Film: Lilja-4-Ever / Lilya 4-Ever
Scene: the central character Lilya has escaped from imprisonment and is running through a foreign city, not knowing where to go, and nobody is offering to help.
Why it’s awesome: it’s Rammstein. It’s a brutal mashup of rhythmic orchestral strings and over-distored heavy metal guitars. The sound is overwhelming, and the visuals are distressing (shaky cam and frenetic cuts), which makes this a very memorable and powerful opening. It puts you right in the scene with her, disoriented, afraid, and desperate.
Together: set back in 1975, it documents the make ups and break ups of a crowded hippy commune in Stockholm – doesn’t sound great but this is one of the best drama films out there, easily. Other than a few zooms there are no fancy tricks to this film, leaving everything to come from the characters; vegetarians, homosexuals, hippies, confused teenagers and alcoholics under one roof – it’s basically a scrip-writer’s wet dream. There are no main roles, just an ensemble of credible characters that you can relate to – from the uneasy teen to the textbook socialist – which makes the story very absorbing. There’s some nice subtle and awkward comedy hidden there too. It may be a tad slow for some but has one of the best endings that I can remember. All in, it’s a simple feel good tale about the ups and downs of living with people. This is was only Moodysson’s 2nd film, and between this, Fucking Amal and Lilja-4-ever he definitely started his career with a bang. We’re better together.