Monday, April 03, 2006

Rainy Sunday Movie Day 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI spent mine watching Lilya 4-Ever, a sexy, light-hearted romp through the vibrant post Soviet empire. Lilya, a spunky little 16 year old, is left ‘home alone’ in her crumbling council estate-like apartment outside St Petersburg after her mother gets married and abandons her for America. At loose ends with no money, things are a little scary at first, what with the gangraping teenager thugs that stalk her, but she makes the best of things and bides her time sniffing glue with her best friend, a neglected little neighbor boy with a psychotic, alcoholic father. Lilya’s luck changes when she meets a handsome boyfriend at a club who promises her a job and a better life in Sweden. There’s a wacky mix-up about the job, and hilarity ensues when Lilya arrives in Sweden and finds herself betrayed, beaten and sold into white slavery. Her little friend, feeling forsaken after Lilya leaves him for Sweden, commits suicide, but then becomes her guardian angel, keeping her company in between her visits with an endless string of disgusting, degenerate, elderly johns. When Lilya’s abusive pimp forgets one day to lock her into her apartment/prison, Lilya makes her escape, but realizing the futility of her situation she jumps off a highway bridge to her death. After watching this movie, I felt like doing the same. The movie ends with her in heaven, an angel, playing with her best friend and babysitting JonBenet. It’s the feel good sex slave movie of the year. I made up that part about JonBenet.

Maybe next Sunday I’ll watch Shoah.

The only other work I had seen by this director was Together, a touching movie about a commune in the Swedish suburbs set during the mid seventies, the twilight of the hippie era. It had an awesome ABBA soundtrack, which perfectly matched the sweet, hopeful message of the movie. I was, therefore, a little unprepared by Lilya 4-Ever, which was emotionally devastating. As I was sealing up the Netflix envelope, my face red and swollen, E inquired, “Awww, did you get a tear on the Netflix Envelope? Is that your ‘silent review?’”

And I replied, "Shut your face!"

When I first moved to Birmingham, my roommate and I had no cable and pitiful television reception. We both came down with a vicious stomach flu, and since we couldn’t watch TV, all there was to do to break up the monotony of vomiting was stare at the ceiling and cry for our mommies. During a brief window between bouts of vomiting Elka heroically managed to get to the video store. And what did she bring home? The Killing Fields, just what you would want to watch in that fragile condition, especially considering how the United States, in my opinion, was largely responsible for driving the entire country of Cambodia insane with our campaign of relentless, illegal, secret bombing. (Don't worry, I also blame the fucking French). Anyway, I should have learned about letting her choose the movies because a few months later we had a little pizza movie party and she presented everyone with Schindler’s List. Of course the pizza arrived right during the scene where the little children have to hide chin deep in the latrine so they don’t have to go to the gas chamber.
No one felt much like eating, and the pizza remained largely untouched.

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