Show Me Love (film)
|Fucking Åmål (Show Me Love)|
|Directed by||Lukas Moodysson|
|Produced by||Lars Jönsson|
|Written by||Lukas Moodysson|
|Distributed by||Sonet Film|
The film follows the lives of two seemingly disparate teenage girls who begin a tentative romantic relationship. It first premiered outside Sweden at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival under its original title. According to Moodysson, the problem with the original title started when the film was Sweden's candidate for the Academy Awards, though eventually it was not chosen as a nominee. The Hollywood industry magazine Variety refused to run an advertisement for Fucking Åmål. Thus American distributor Strand Releasing asked for a new title. Moodysson took the new title from the song at the end of the film, by Robyn. Distributors in other native English-speaking countries then followed suit.
For writer Moodysson, it was his directorial debut in a full-length film. Starring in the lead roles were Rebecka Liljeberg, as Agnes, and Alexandra Dahlström, as Elin. The film received an overwhelmingly positive reception and won four Guldbagge Awards (Sweden's official film awards) at the 1999 ceremony. Its international awards include the Teddy Award at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival.
The Swedish title refers to the small town of Åmål in western Sweden. Only a few scenes were filmed in Åmål, and these were not included in the final version. The main shooting took place in the nearby town of Trollhättan, the location of Film i Väst's (producing company) studios.
Two girls, Agnes and Elin, attend school in the small town of Åmål in Sweden. Elin is outgoing and popular but finds her life unsatisfying and dull. Agnes, by contrast, has no real friends and is constantly depressed. Agnes is in love with Elin but cannot find any way to express it.
Agnes' parents worry about their daughter's reclusive life and try to be reassuring. Her mother decides, against Agnes' will, to throw a 16th birthday party for her. Agnes is afraid no one will come. Viktoria, a girl in a wheelchair, shows up and Agnes shouts at her in front of her parents, telling her they are friends only because no one else will talk to them. Agnes, overcome with anger and depression, goes to her room and cries into her pillow shouting that she wishes she was dead, while her father tries to soothe her. Viktoria leaves and Agnes' family eats the food made for the party.
Elin arrives at Agnes' house, mainly as an excuse to avoid going to another party, where there will be a boy (Johan, played by Mathias Rust) she wants to avoid. Elin's older sister, Jessica, who comes with her, dares her to kiss Agnes, who is rumoured to be a lesbian. Elin fulfills the dare and then runs out with Jessica, only to soon feel guilty for having humiliated Agnes.
After becoming drunk at the other party, Elin gets sick and throws up. Johan tries to help her and ends up professing his love to her. Elin leaves Johan and the party, only to return to Agnes' house to apologize for how she acted earlier. And in doing so, Elin stops Agnes from cutting herself. She even manages to persuade Agnes to return with her to the other party. On the way, Elin shares her real feelings about being trapped in Åmål. She asks Agnes about being a lesbian and believes that their problems could be solved by leaving Åmål and going to Stockholm. On impulse, Elin persuades Agnes to hitchhike to Stockholm, a five-hour car journey. They find a driver who agrees to take them, believing them to be sisters who are visiting their grandmother. While sitting in the back seat have their first real kiss. The driver sees them and, shocked at the behaviour of the two 'sisters', orders them to leave the car.
Elin discovers that she is attracted to Agnes but is afraid to admit it. She proceeds to ignore Agnes and refuses to talk to her. Elin's sister Jessica sees that she is in love and pushes her to figure out who it is. To cover the fact that she is in love with Agnes, Elin lies, pretending to be in love with Johan, and loses her virginity during a short-lived relationship with him. Elin eventually admits her feelings, when, after a climactic scene in a school bathroom, they are forced to 'out' their relationship to the school.
The film ends with Elin and Agnes sitting in Elin's bedroom drinking chocolate milk. Elin explains that she often adds too much chocolate until her milk is nearly black. She must fill another glass with milk and mix it and that her sister Jessica often gets mad that she finishes the chocolate. Elin has the last word saying "It makes a lot of chocolate milk. But that doesn't matter."
- Alexandra Dahlström as Elin Olsson
- Rebecka Liljeberg as Agnes Ahlberg
- Erica Carlson as Jessica Olsson
- Mathias Rust as Johan Hulth
- Stefan Hörberg as Markus
- Josefine Nyberg as Viktoria
- Ralph Carlsson as Agnes' Father Olof
- Maria Hedborg as Agnes' Mother Karin
- Axel Widegren as Agnes' Little Brother Oskar
- Jill Ung as Elin's and Jessica's Mother Birgitta
The original title of the film, Fucking Åmål, refers to the girls' feelings about their small town: In a key scene one of the girls shouts in desperation "varför måste vi bo i fucking jävla kuk-Åmål?" (which roughly translates to "why do we have to live in fucking bloody cock-Åmål?"). The title, however, caused problems in other countries. Alternative, generic names were chosen by local distributors:
- German: Raus aus Åmål ("getting out of Åmål")
- Spanish: Descubriendo el Amor ("discovering love")
- Portuguese: Amigas de Colégio ("school friends")
- Czech: Láska je láska ("love is love")
- Russian: Покажи мне любовь (Pokazhi mne lyobov, "show me love")
- English: Show Me Love
Even before the film was completed, it created controversy in the town of Åmål. Local politicians campaigned to get the title changed because they argued that it would show the town in an unfair way and even undermine it as an economic centre. Further pressure was brought on the makers of the film, the Film i Väst studio, who are partly financed by Swedish local authorities, including Åmål.
However, the local complaints had no effect on the content or release of the film. Since the release, the town of Åmål has tried to embrace the publicity generated, despite the fact that the town's name is missing from the English title. In the early 2000s the town founded the pop music "Fucking Åmål Festival."
Critical and commercial response
Fucking Åmål received the highest audience figures for a Swedish film in 1998-9, with a total audience of 867,576 and a total audience for the whole of Europe of 2,100,000.
However, some reports outside Sweden incorrectly stated that in Sweden the film had even outgrossed the Hollywood film Titanic. In fact, Titanic had over twice as many viewers as Show Me Love in Sweden in 1998. Based on 39 reviews collected by the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 90% of critics gave Show Me Love a positive review. It is among the top ten of the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14.
The film's soundtrack was released through Columbia Records and consists of songs in English and Swedish language. Swedish band Broder Daniel, who contributed three English language songs to Fucking Åmål, saw a spike in popularity after the film's release. The band also released an EP titled Fucking Åmål.
- "Drifter", performed by Yvonne
- "Whirlwind", composition and lyrics by Henrik Berggren, performed by Broder Daniel
- "No dinero no amor", composition by Hällgren and Sagrén, performed by Betty N' Boop
- "När vi två blir en", composition and lyrics by Per Gessle, performed by Gyllene Tider
- "U Drive Me Crazy", composition by Hogblad and Lehtonen, performed by Waldo's People
- "Fantasy Dreamworld", composition by Stigsson and Rickstrand, performed by Combayah
- "Adagio", composition by Tomaso Albinoni, arrangement by Remo Giazotto, directed by Jan-Olav Wedin, performed by Stockholm Chamber Orchestra
- "I Want To Know What Love Is", composition and lyrics by Mick Jones, performed by Foreigner
- "Funny Bunny Boy", composition by Lindgren and From, performed by Evelyn
- "Danny's Dream", composition by Lars Gullin, lyrics by Lars Söderberg
- "Blue Sky Black" by Evelyn
- "I'll Be Gone", composition and lyrics by Henrik Berggren, performed by Broder Daniel
- "Simplicity", composition by Nordlund, Danielsson, Karlsson and Andersson, performed by Souls
- "Underground", composition and lyrics by Henrik Berggren, performed by Broder Daniel
- "Show Me Love" (title track), composition by Max Martin, lyrics by Robyn, performed by Robyn
Awards and award nominations
- Guldbagge Awards, Sweden: Best Actress in a leading role (won jointly by Alexandra Dahlström and Rebecka Liljeberg); Best Direction (won by Lukas Moodysson); Best Film; Best Screenplay (won by Lukas Moodysson); Best Supporting Actor (Nominee, Ralph Carlsson) (1999)
- Amanda Awards, Norway: Best Foreign Feature Film (1999)
- Atlantic Film Festival: Best International Feature (1999)
- Teddy Award: Best Feature Film (1999)
- Brothers Manaki International Film Festival, Macedonia: Special Jury Award (Cinematography: Ulf Brantås)
- Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Netherlands: Moviezone Award (won by Lukas Moodysson) (2000)
- British Film Institute Awards, UK: Sutherland Trophy, Special Mention (1999)
- Bodil Awards: Best Non-American Film (2000)
- Molodist International Film Festival, Ukraine: Best Film Award; Best Full-Length Fiction Film Award; Fipresci Prize (won by Lukas Moodysson); Youth Jury Award Full-Length Feature Film (1999)
- Verzaubert International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Germany: Best film nomination (1999)
- Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic: Audience Award; Don Quijote Award; Special Prize of the Jury; Crystal Globe Award nominee
- European Film Awards: nominee, Best Film (1999)
- GLAAD Media Awards: Outstanding Film (Limited Release) (2000)
- List of submissions to the 71st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Swedish submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- "Gareth Griffiths, An Åmål State of Mind, in City + Cinema: Essays on the specificity of location in film, Datutop 29, 2007.". Academia.edu. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- "45 Countries Submit Films for Oscar Consideration". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 19 November 1998. Archived from the original on 19 February 1999. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- "Fucking Åmål (Show me love) (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- Robert Wangeby, "Smygpremiär på Fucking Åmål", Provinstidningen Dalsland, 1998.10.13
- "About Film i Väst," Film i Väst
- The Czech title is based on a Lucie Bílá song of the same name, which references homosexuality. Fucking Amal-Show Me Love Interviews and Reviews
- Lumiere data base on film admissions released in Europe.
- Ebert, Roger (March 24, 2000). "Show Me Love review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 7, 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
- http://lumiere.obs.coe.int/web/film_info/?id=8001 Titanic received an audience in Sweden in 1998 of 2,166,584.
- "Debate produces list of films that children should see". British Film Institute. 2005. Archived from the original on July 7, 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
- European Film Academy: Staff und Structure at the Wayback Machine (archived October 1, 2006)
- Tiina Rosenberg, Out of the National Closet. Show me Love. Journal of Theatre and Drama, vol. 7/8, 2/2002.