During my research for an introductory lecture on Lukas Moodysson's VI ÄR BÄST! (WE ARE THE BEST!) I couldn't help marvelling about the recurring color schemes in his first three features. Even LILJA 4EVER (2002) which most people remember as particularly grim and bleak is full of carefully chosen colors.
From warm to dingy
To make up the lack of in-depth posts I will have a superficial glance at the color coding of Lilja's three apartments during the course of the film:
Initially Lilja lives somewhere in Russia in a world of warm colors that go quite well with her blue and lilac clothes.
But when her mother is leaving for America and dumping her for good, her aunt Anna forces her to move to a dirty room with hardly any heating or electricity.
|She always carries with her a framed religious picture.|
...while Anna has secretly usurped the warm apartment of Lilja's mother.
Lilja's friend Natasha still lives in her cozy family environment...
...after Lilja has been lured to Sweden where she is locked up in an empty but nevertheless dingy apartment.
There, the furniture is almost exclusively brown and gray and thus reflects the appearance of Lilja's tormentor.
Her daily routine now oscillates between equally brown and gray/white clients' homes and the cold blue back seat of a shabby Mercedes 190 E...
...until her face looks as pale as her future.
If you have not seen LILJA 4EVER yet, go for it! It is one of the rare occasions of an important movie that is actually great and accessible for a late teen audience and thus highly recommended.