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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

We Are the Best!

Before We Are the Best!, the only other Lukas Moodysson film I'd seen was Lilya 4-Ever, and let me tell you, these films couldn't be more different. While that film was a depressing tale of a woman in white slavery, We Are the Best! is a joyous little story of a teenage punk band. The only thing in common that they have is they are both terrific.

The setting is Stockholm, the time is 1982. Bobo and Karla (Mira Barkhammar and Mira Grosin, respectively) are thirteen-year-old girls who don't fit in. Both, upon first glance, look like boys. Karla has a mohawk, even though she is told that punk is dead. "No, it's not," she says petulantly. The girls, angered by the heavy metal they hear at their youth center, sign up for the rehearsal space just for spite, They want to form a band, despite the fact that they can't play instruments.

The two recruit a pious guitar virtuoso, Hedwig (Liv LeMoyne) who joins, mainly because she's thrilled to have friends. They cut her long blonde hair, which almost sends her mother to the police (Karla's dad jokes that he doesn't think the police can do anything about a bad haircut). The girls read an article about another post-punk band, and are able to call them up. These boys are about the girls' age, and they meet and a relationship forms between Karla and the drummer. This angers Bobo, because Karla always gets the boys, and the age-old breaker-up of bands, romantic entanglements, rears its head.

We Are the Best! is irresistible, mostly due to the two lead performances and the overall punk attitude. The girls' main song is called "Hate Sport," dedicated to their P.E. teacher (Bobo passes the basketball to the wrong team, and doesn't quite understand what the big deal is). Though this happens to be 1982, I think this is going right now with some other form of music, and has been going since the teenager was invented (sometime around World War II).  Teenagers just don't want any part of the rotten world, and will tell anyone who's willing to listen. And so it goes.

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