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'We Are the Best!' returns to punk band era

We Are The Best!

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Swedish director Lukas Moodysson makes great films about young people. His latest “We are the best!” (Vi är bästa, Sweden 2013) returns to 1982 and the punk and garage bands of the late 70’s. The film is based on a graphic novel series "Never Goodnight" (Aldrig Godnatt) by Moodysson’s wife Coco. The film debuted at the Venice Film Festival last year.

Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin and Liv LeMoyne in 'We are the Best'
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures, Used with Permission

The municipality of Stockholm provides rehearsal spaces and club rooms for young people (called free time centers with organizers paid by the municipality to engage young people with meaningful activity). Two 13 year old girls Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin) with no background in music decide to form a band. They sign up to rehearse only to be kicked out of the space by a male teenage rock band. The free time leaders try to sort out the conflict by saying that the place is democratic and that the boy should not threaten to kills the young girls.

Bobo and Klara soon decide to recruit Hedwig (Liv LeMoyne) who is a serious singersongwriter. With her permission they cut off her hair to fit in with their punk style. Later Hedwig’s mother claims that they forced her to get her hair cut. She wants to make a police complaint but tells them if they go to church every Sunday with Hedwig, who she has raised as a devout Christian, she won’t press charges.

Much of the film is about the thought processes of these young girls. They speak quickly and often out of context, living in the moment. The story is very endearing because of its authenticity. It is clear that the girls are strong in their conviction to challenge gender roles and there is a good deal of stereotyping they must overcome.

"We Are the Best!" won the Swedish National Film Awards for costume and makeup in 2014 and Lukas Moodysson was awarded the Spiro Award for his achievements in capturing the complexities of youth in his film repertoire.

Featured at the Landmark Theatres, now playing in the San Francisco Bay Area.