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SHOW ME LOVE

Sweden, 1998 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Lukas Moodysson

Originally titled Fucking Amal (an exclamation by one of the protagonists which obviously presented some marketing problems in more prudish territories), Show Me Love is a sensitive story of universal appeal about the trials of sexual identification and awakening in a small town.

Amal is a sleepy little Swedish burg to say the very least. It's the kind of place where youngsters grow up feeling trapped, where as teenagers they are expected to have already found their partners for life. The schoolyard is the place for playing out romance, and acknowledging preferences outside the norm is a risk.

Elin is trapped in a sea of small town tedium, desperate for something, anything, to happen. Things take a turn for the better when she and her sister Jessica wind up being the only guests who show for school-chum Agnes' 15th birthday party. An innocent prank and a passionate kiss between Elin and Agnes leads to a mixed-up romance and an unconventional portrayal of a family coming to grips with their daughter's sexuality.

Lukas Moodysson's previous film work, a trio of shorts, though well-received did not hint at the level of maturity and accomplishment that distinguishes Show Me Love. Devoid of the cliches that cripple so many films detailing teen Iove stories, Moodysson tackles his setting and characters with a fresh approach, never labouring the undercurrent of lesbian lust nor ignoring its impact on the film's principal personalities. A liberating and immensely warm film taken from a conservative setting.

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