Special Report: Swedish Golden Beetle Awards and Lukas Moodysson

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
Swedish Golden Beetles
February 4, 2003

The Swedish Golden Beetles award ceremony held February 4 was one of the most upbeat in a long time. And the reason was that that the important awards went to "Lilya 4-ever" for best Cinematography Best Director and Script to Lukas Moodysson and Best Actress to Oksana Akinsjina . The work of Moodysson is a breath of fresh air in Swedish filmmaking today and his brilliant sense of style and lucid social commentary are his gifts and trademark. We can say that Moodysson has almost single handedly revamped the Swedish film industry after Ingmar Bergman and at the time there is no other director working that has his popular success. His films do well both abroad and in Sweden. His first film "Show Me Love" brought down the house at the Golden Beetles awards ceremony two years ago but he was chastised for his delivery speech and manners. He wore his son's moose ears and criticized the organisers for holding an awards ceremony in the Stockholm Opera House. These awards don''t belong here, he said. He also gave a speech that drivers should slow down on the freeway, children deserve respect and something about vegetarian food at the supermarket. OK there have been worse acceptance speeches but this one certainly was refreshing.

The following year, his film "Together", a nostalgic look at collective's and Swedish hippies in the 60's was ignored. But Moodysson paid his dues, and took home an armful full of Golden Beetles this year.
Moodysson's film "Lilya 4-Ever" about a young Russian girl sold into slavery in Sweden as a prostitute is a grim and powerful portrait. "Every year two million women and children are bought and raped," explained Moodysson as he accepted his award for best director. "We have a choice, accept it or protest. Change channels, play golf; next election vote for Coca-Cola; or say, no I don't want a 'happy meal'." As Lilya says, "you think you can buy me but you can never buy my heart."

Oksana Akinsjina upon winning the Best actress award said, "my heart is beating so much I can barely speak." Ulf Brantås who won for best cinematography said it was "terrible making this film because of the subject matter but I am happy that so many people wanted to see it."
As for another highlight at the awards,
When Ingmar Bergman turned 60 years old, he refused an honorary award so the Ingmar Bergman Prize was created in his name. The famous director wrote a letter to this year's prize winner, Vilgot Sjöman, best known internationally for "I am Curious Yellow", a film initially banned in the USA and defended by Norman Mailer.
Criticizing the "rape of precious creations, and violence to our loving children"--advertising on television-- Bergman saluted Sjöman--the "barricade charger", "a Don Quixote who fought against the windmills of commercial TV and sued them."

I wonder what the Swedes were thinking when they created this ugly statuette of the Golden Beetle. Yuck. This year a musical comedy number was performed by four Swedish actors dressed up in Beetles costumes, with tunes set to the Beatles. I am no more endeared to it. I think Moose ears would be better.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm Sweden

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Swedish Golden Beetle Awards and Lukas Moodysson