HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 3,1999
OUT ON THE BAYOU
Lukos Moodysson, director of 'Show Me Love/
> Continued from page 15
become such a sensation in Sweden and in
a number of other Scandinavian countries,
when it is struggling to secure bookings at
American art house theaters? According to
its director and writer, the answer is a simple one—acceptance.
"For some reason, American movie-going
audiences seem to have a hang-up with
movies that deal with gay or lesbian subjects. That's just not the case in Europe,"
Moodysson said in a telephone interview
from Sweden. "I think the success of 'Show
Me Love' demonstrates that Swedes and
most Europeans aren't as homophobic as
their American cousins. That may sound
like a generalization, but it's true. 'Show
Me Love' is a beautiful romance that I
think anyone could relate to. The fact
that the lovers are both girls shouldn't
make a difference."
Starring film newcomers Alexandra
Dahlstrom and Rebecca Liljeberg, "Show Me
Love"—which is now showing in Houston—
is the story of Elin, a smalltown teenage girl
who discovers she's a lesbian and begins to
have feelings for Agnes. The film documents
Elin's efforts to come to terms with her self
and her budding lesbianism.
When Moodysson first sat down to write
the screenplay for "Show Me Love," the
Swedish poet made himself a list of guidelines, No. 1 on his list was making sure the
story was set in the present.
"I think people are more moved by
films that have contemporary settings,"
he said. "I like to write stories about living in the here and now. Otherwise, you
can be tempted to create a whole lot of
Ensuring that the characters in the
screenplay rang true was his next concern.
"When I look at reality around me, I see
stories," he said. "I don't actively do any
research on the streets, but I continually see
tensions and emotions around me. But 1 do
constantly find myself going through
neighborhoods, wandering about what
might be going on in the houses there. I am
obsessed by houses and the lives of the people in them. That's kind of how I came up
with 'Show Me Love.' For some reason, I
wanted to explore the idea of a teenager
who comes to her parents and says, 'Guess
what? I'm a lesbian.' For me, a crisis is
always a good starting point for a story
about feelings and emotions."
Moodysson admits he has always been
fascinated with the way that women are
always more apt to express themselves in
more emotional terms than men.
"When I was a teenager myself, I can
remember noticing how clearly teenage
girls expressed their personal desperation and frustration," he said. "But 'Show
Me Love' is not meant to be depressing. I
feel that my one responsibility as a writer
and director is to find happy endings to
heavy and serious themes, like discovering your true sexual identity. Out of a crisis or conflict, you can always find reconciliation and hope."
As Moodysson sees it, the world,
America in particular, could use more
"feel good" movies about coming-out
and embracing homosexuality.
"I'm so tired of seeing movies where a
homosexual man or woman has to pay a
big price for just being themselves," he
said. ".American and British films have a
tendency to want to punish characters for
being gay. I think that's where a lot of the
homophobia comes from - from films.
Movies definitely influence our lives. But
it vou keep showing that bad things are
in store if you admit you are a lesbian or
male homosexual, then people will get
the idea that it is wrong.
"I hope 1 have made a difference with
Show Me Love.' In essence, it's a film
that celebrates love, even if it's love
between two young women. I hope that
more American filmmakers see it and
take my lead. The more that filmmakers
educate their audiences about real life,
the better life will be for all ot us,"
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