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Show Me Love
Directed by Lukas Moodysson
Produced by Lars Jönsson
Written by Lukas Moodysson
Starring Rebecka Liljeberg
Alexandra Dahlström
Cinematography Ulf Brantås
Editing by Michal Leszczylowski
Bernhard Winkler
Distributed by Sonet Film
Release date(s) October 23, 1998
Running time 89 minutes
Country Sweden Sweden
Language Swedish
Budget SEK 9,000,000

Show Me Love, originally titled Fucking Åmål, is a 1998 Swedish film directed by Lukas Moodysson. The film is centered around the lives of two seemingly disparate teenage girls who begin a tentative romantic relationship. The film first premiered outside Sweden at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival under its original title. According to Moodysson, the problem with the original title started when the film was Sweden's candidate for the Academy Awards, though it was eventually not chosen as a nominee:[1] the Hollywood industry magazine Variety refused to run an advertisement for a film with that title, and thus American distributor Strand Releasing asked for a new title to be chosen. Moodysson took the new title from the song at the end of the film, by Robyn. Distributors in other native English speaking countries then followed suit.

For writer Moodysson, it was his directorial debut in a full length film. Starring in the lead roles were Rebecka Liljeberg, as Agnes, and Alexandra Dahlström, as Elin. The film received a generally positive reception[2] and won four Guldbagge Awards (Sweden's official film awards) at the 1999 ceremony. Its international awards include the Teddy award at the 1999 Berlin Film Festival.

The Swedish title refers to the small town of Åmål in central Sweden. Only a few scenes were actually filmed in Åmål,[3] but these were not included in the final version: the main shooting took place in the nearby town of Trollhättan, location of Film i Väst's (the company that produced the film) film studios.[4]

Contents

Plot summary

The film tells the story of two girls, Agnes and Elin, who attend school in the small town of Åmål in Sweden. Elin is outgoing and popular, but finds her life unsatisfying and dull. Agnes, by contrast, has no real friends and is constantly depressed. Agnes has a crush on Elin, but cannot find any way to express it.

Agnes's parents worry about their daughter's reclusive life, and try to be reassuring. Her mother decides, against Agnes's will, to throw a 16th birthday party for her, and Agnes is afraid no one will come. Viktoria, a girl in a wheelchair, shows up and Agnes shouts at her in front of her parents, telling her they are friends only because no one else will talk to them. Elin arrives at Agnes's house, mainly as an excuse to avoid going to a different party, where there will be a boy (Johan) (Mathias Rust) she wants to avoid. Elin's older sister, Jessica, who comes with her, dares her to kiss Agnes, who is rumoured to be a lesbian. Elin fulfills the dare, and then runs out with Jessica, only to soon feel guilty for having humiliated Agnes.

After becoming drunk at the other party, Elin returns to Agnes's house to apologize. She even manages to persuade Agnes to return with her to the other party. On the way, Elin shares her real feelings about being trapped in Åmål, and on impulse Elin persuades Agnes to hitch-hike to Stockholm, a five-hour car journey away. They find a driver who agrees to take them, believing them to be sisters who are visiting their grandmother. It is while sitting in the back seat together that they first kiss "for real". The driver sees them and, shocked at the behaviour of the two 'sisters', orders them to leave the car.

Elin discovers that she is attracted to Agnes, but is afraid to admit it, as Agnes is so unpopular within the school. She proceeds to ignore Agnes and refuse to talk to her. Instead, she pretends to be in love with Johan, and loses her virginity during a short-lived relationship with him. Elin and Agnes eventually show each other their feelings at the end of the film, where, after a climactic scene in a school bathroom, they decide to 'out' their relationship to the entire school. The film ends on a carefree yet touching note, characteristic of Moodysson's films, with Elin and Agnes sitting in Elin's bedroom drinking chocolate and Elin explaining that she often adds too much chocolate until her milk is nearly black so then she must fill another glass with milk and mix it, and that her sister Jessica often gets mad that she finishes the chocolate. The film ends with Elin's memorable quote, "It makes a lot of chocolate milk. But that doesn't matter."

Main cast

  • Alexandra Dahlström - Elin Olsson
  • Rebecka Liljeberg - Agnes Ahlberg
  • Erica Carlson - Jessica Olsson
  • Mathias Rust - Johan Hulth
  • Stefan Hörberg - Markus
  • Josefine Nyberg - Viktoria
  • Ralph Carlsson - Agnes' Father Olof
  • Maria Hedborg - Agnes' Mother Karin
  • Axel Widegren - Agnes' Little Brother Oskar
  • Jill Ung - Elin's Mother Birgitta

Titles

The original title of the film also caused problems in other countries, and so alternative, neutral names were chosen by local distributors: Raus aus Åmål (Getting out of Åmål), Descubriendo el Amor (Discovering Love), Amigas de Colégio (School Friends), Láska je láska (Love is Love), and Покажи мне любовь (Pokazhi mne lyubov' = Show me Love).

Reception

Political controversy

Even before the film was completed, it created controversy in the town of Åmål itself. Local politicians campaigned to get the title of the film changed because they argued that it would show the town in an unfair way, and even undermine the town as an economic centre.[1] Further pressure was brought on the makers of the film, the Film i Väst film studio, who are partly financed by Swedish local authorities, including Åmål. However, the local complaints had no effect on the content or release of the film. Since the release of the film the town of Åmål has even tried to embrace the publicity generated, despite the fact that the town's name is missing from the English title. Still, in the early 2000s the town founded the pop music festival "Fucking Åmål Festival".

Critical and commercial response

The film received the highest audience figures for a Swedish film in 1998-9, with a total audience of 867,576, and a total audience for the whole of Europe of 2,100,000.[5] However, some positive critiques outside Sweden over-estimated its popularity in Sweden; as shown, for example, by the incorrect claim that the film had outgrossed the Hollywood film Titanic.[6] In fact, Titanic had over twice as many viewers as Show me Love in Sweden in 1998.[7] Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 90 percent positive rating.[2] The film is among the top ten of the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14.

Classification boards

The Strand Releasing North America release of this movie was not presented to the MPAA for classification and was released unrated. Momentum released the film in the United Kingdom, where the British Board of Film Classification gave the film a "15" film certificate. Madman Entertainment released the film in Australia, where the film received a "MA 15+" film certificate. The film was given a certification of "11 År" (11 years) under the Swedish rating system, with the rest of Scandinavia giving equivalent ratings.[8]

Soundtrack

The film's soundtrack was released through Columbia Records, and consists of songs in English and Swedish language. Swedish band Broder Daniel, who contributed three English language songs to the movie, released an EP entitled Fucking Åmål.

  • "Drifter", performed by Yvonne
  • "Whirlwind", composition and lyrics by Henrik Berggren, performed by Broder Daniel
  • "No dinero no amor", composition by Hällgren and Sagrén, performed by Betty N' Boop
  • "När vi två blir en", composition and lyrics by Per Gessle, performed by Gyllene Tider
  • "U Drive Me Crazy", composition by Hogblad and Lehtonen, performed by Waldo's People
  • "Fantasy Dreamworld", composition by Stigsson and Rickstrand, performed by Cumbayah
  • "Adagio", composition by Tomaso Albinoni, arrangement by Remo Giazotto, directed by Jan-Olav Wedin, performed by Stockholm Chamber Orchestra
  • "I Want To Know What Love Is", composition and lyrics by Mick Jones, performed by Foreigner
  • "Funny Bunny Boy", composition by Lindgren and From, performed by Evelyn
  • "Danny's Dream", composition by Lars Gullin, lyrics by Lars Söderberg
  • "I'll Be Gone", composition and lyrics by Henrik Berggren, performed by Broder Daniel
  • "Simplicity", composition by Nordlund, Danielsson, Karlsson and Andersson, performed by Souls
  • "Underground", composition and lyrics by Henrik Berggren, performed by Broder Daniel
  • "Show Me Love" (title track), composition by Max Martin, lyrics by Robyn, performed by Robyn

Awards and award nominations

  • Guldbagge Awards, Sweden: Best Actress in a leading role (won jointly by Alexandra Dahlström and Rebecka Liljeberg); Best Direction (won by Lukas Moodysson); Best Film; Best Screenplay (won by Lukas Moodysson); Best Supporting Actor (Nominee, Ralph Carlsson) (1999)
  • Amanda Awards, Norway: Best Foreign Feature Film (1999)
  • Atlantic Film Festival: Best International Feature (1999)
  • Teddy Award: Best Feature Film (1999)
  • Brothers Manaki International Film Festival, Macedonia: Special Jury Award (Cinematography: Ulf Brantås)
  • Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Netherlands: Moviezone Award (won by Lukas Moodysson) (2000)
  • British Film Institute Awards, UK: Sutherland Trophy, Special Mention (1999)
  • Bodil Awards: Best Non-American Film (2000)
  • Molodist International Film Festival, Ukraine: Best Film Award; Best Full-Length Fiction Film Award; Fipresci Prize (won by Lukas Moodysson); Youth Jury Award Full-Length Feature Film 1999)
  • Verzaubert International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Germany: Best film nomination (1999)
  • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic: Audience Award; Don Quijote Award; Special Prize of the Jury; Crystal Globe Award nominee
  • European Film Awards: nominee, Best Film (1999)[9]
  • GLAAD Media Awards: Outstanding Film (Limited Release) (2000)[10]

References

  1. ^ a b Gareth Griffiths, An Åmål State of Mind, in City + Cinema: Essays on the specificity of location in film, Datutop 29, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Show Me Love (1998)." Rotten Tomatoes
  3. ^ Robert Wangeby, ”Smygpremiär på Fucking Åmål”, Provinstidningen Dalsland, 13.10.1998
  4. ^ "About Film i Väst," Film i Väst
  5. ^ Lumiere data base on film admissions released in Europe.
  6. ^ http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20000324/REVIEWS/3240302/1023
  7. ^ http://lumiere.obs.coe.int/web/film_info/?id=8001 Titanic received an audience in Sweden in 1998 of 2,166,584.
  8. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0150662/ Show Me Love at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ European Film Academy: Staff und Structure
  10. ^ Tiina Rosenberg, Out of the National Closet. Show me Love. Journal of Theatre and Drama, vol. 7/8, 2/2002.

External links








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