Divergent Accounts of Equivalent Narratives: Russian-Swedish Interdevochka Meets Swedish-Russian Lilya 4-ever

Lars Lyngsgaard Fjord Kristensen


Abstract

In a region that is traditionally considered to be transnational, Nordic cinema has often posed as the prime case for a transnational cinema. The paper contests this notion of Nordic transnationality by analysing two films that depict two Russian women travelling to Sweden. Interdevochka/Intergirl (Todorovski, 1989, USSR) and Lilya-4-ever (Moodysson, 2004, Sweden) challenge the inclusiveness of the region and make explicit the fact that Russian identities are not part of the homogenous mixture of the region. Instead, Russian identities of cross-border prostitution are cinematically subjected to rejection and victimisation. This paper examines how Lilya-4-ever adheres to a European anxiety narrative by performing a Russian return narrative and how Interdevochka/Intergirl portrays ‘the fallen soviet woman’ by travelling to Sweden. These cinematic representations of the female Russian identity travelling to Sweden differ from each national context, but by probing into a comparative analysis the paper will reveal that both films need the Other to narrate these stories of transnational labour migration.

Keywords

Transnational cinema, Labour Migration, (Post-) Soviet female prostitution, Russian Return Narrative, Lilya 4-ever (Moodysson, 2002), Interdevochka/Intergirl (Todorovsky, 1989)

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