Lilya 4-ever. Post-Soviet neoliberal angels and nordic intellectual secularism

Anna Westerstahl Stenport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Like many of Lukas Moodysson's films, Lilja 4-ever (Lilya 4-Ever, 2002) centres on a complex female protagonist on the verge of adulthood. Lilya is based on a documented case of suicide by a trafficked young woman from the former USSR, whose eventual redemption, or at least her dream of escape, is self-consciously visualized in sequences featuring Lilya and her friend as winged angels. This tension in registers, between fantasy and social realism and between melodrama and societal critique, opens up interpretive venues that paradoxically signal both the film's protest against, and implication within, ideologies and practices of neoliberalism and globalization. Moodysson's questioning of neoliberalism and globalization within a double framework of gender and religiosity point to his desire to find alternate (political) discourses outside the dominant ones. This ambition, however, figures Lilya as a victim of abuse on multiple levels: as trafficked girl, as didactic vehicle for a political message and, arguably, also as part of a postmodernist experiment that reinserts a redemptive spirituality into a context marked by capitalist and political secularism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-54
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Globalization
  • Lilya-4-ever(film)
  • Lukas Moodysson
  • Neoliberalism
  • Secularism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Lilya 4-ever. Post-Soviet neoliberal angels and nordic intellectual secularism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this