The work of director Lukas Moodysson has always been challenging, with the filmmaker coming to the attention of cinephiles with 1998’s “Fucking Åmål,” and earning further attention for his often tough dramas such as “Lilja-4-Ever,” “A Hole In My Heart” and “Mammoth.” But Moodysson’s latest couldn’t be more different.
Hilarious, and infused with pure joy and a playfully rebellious spirit, “We Are The Best!” might be one of the, well, best times you have at the movies this summer. Based on the graphic novel by the director’s wife, Coco Moodysson, the film follows the travails of three young girls who decide to form a punk band in 1980s Stockholm. The decision finds them battling against what’s expected of their gender, all while they navigate coming of age and learning who they really are as people and friends. It’s effortlessly charming and sweet with a streak of authenticity that makes every moment feel real.
With the film coming to theatres this Friday, we caught up with Moodysson to talk with him about the movies that changed his life and put him on the path that has led to his diverse career.
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The first movie you ever saw.
No idea. My memory is terrible. Maybe it was “The Brothers Lionheart,” based on Astrid Lindgren‘s book, or some other Astrid Lindgren movie.
The best moviegoing film experience you ever had.
Some of my own films, because I always expect a fiasco and sometimes it is but sometimes it’s not, and those rare moments when I watch my own film with an audience and it doesn’t feel like they want to kill me afterwards. Those are wonderful moments… The Stockholm premiere of “Fucking Åmål” (“Show Me Love”), for example… Or the Venice premiere of “We Are The Best!”
The first film you saw that you realized, you too could be a filmmaker.
“Twin Peaks.” Not a film, but still … I wasn’t very interested in films/moving images before “Twin Peaks.” I didn’t take movies seriously. Strange, because I had actually seen some good movies, for example some Tarkovsky movies, that I liked a lot before “Twin Peaks,” but still I considered it an inferior art form compared to, for example, music and literature.
The first movie you became obsessed with.
Obsessed? I don’t know. I wanted to try heroin after watching “Christiane F.” when I was 12. I was very touched by “Fanny & Alexander” at approximately the same age, but obsessed? Yes, maybe.
The movie that always makes you cry.
I rarely re-watch movies, so there is no “always.” My emotional comfort food: maybe “Friends” the TV series. And actually, it makes me cry too, especially the last season when the feeling of break-up is so strong I can hardly watch it. The only movie I’ve really rewatched is “The Last Picture Show” by Peter Bogdanovich. I have seen it three times, I think, that’s my maximum. Such a great film.
The movie that always freaks you out/makes you scared.
I don’t like movies that make me scared.
The movie you love that no one would expect you to love.
People who know me are not surprised that I like a lot of “light” comedies. They are maybe surprised if I say that “Bridesmaids” is one of my favorite movies.
The movie that defined your coming-of-age/high school experience.
No such film. Music was more important. And girls. But I remember one evening, taking the bus to Malmö on my own, watching a rerun of “Doctor Zhivago.” That was a magic moment. The book is much better, but the film is very strong, especially the snow and the set design, the atmosphere.
The film that made you fall in love with cinema.
Again, “Twin Peaks.” Or some video on MTV. I remember the shock of seeing Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to U” video. That one was very special.
The film that’s been your best ever date movie.
I’ve never had a movie date, at least not a good one—unless a date with my wife counts. I do remember our worst movie date however. The first time we had someone babysit for our newborn son, we went to see “Se7en.” Stupid idea—the world felt horrible and dangerous and I wanted to build a shelter. I still hate that film. I can’t understand how people want to make films with all that violence and terror. But this opinion is very very subjective, because I saw it at the worst possible time.
“We Are The Best!” opens in limited release this weekend on May 30th.