Synopsis by Mark Deming
A teenager abandoned by her family slips into a downward spiral of sex and degradation in this frank drama from Sweden. Lilya (Oksana Akinshina) is a 16-year-old girl growing up in poverty in the former Soviet Union. Lilya's mother (Lyubov Agapova) is moving to the United States with her new boyfriend, and Lilya has been told she'll be coming with them. However, at the last minute Lilya is informed she'll be staying behind with her aunt Anna (Liliya Shinkaryova), and she'll be joining her mother later on. Anna immediately takes over the apartment Lilya shared with her mother, and moves her niece into a much smaller (and dirtier) flat several blocks away. For the most part left on her own, Lilya spends much of her time with her best friend, Natasha (Elina Benenson), and comes to the rescue of Volodya (Artiom Bogucharski), a suicidal 14-year-old boy who has been thrown out of his home and has a serious problem with alcohol and drugs. One night at a nightclub, Natasha meets a man who is willing to pay her for sex; when her father finds the money, Natasha claims it belongs to Lilya, and the story soon spreads that Lilya is a prostitute. When Lilya learns that her mother has no intention of bringing her to the United States, she becomes despondent and begins sleeping with men for money. Not long after taking up the sex trade she meets Andrei (Pavel Ponomaryov), who promises her a better and easier life if she'll come to Sweden with him. However, Lilya learns the hard way that there's no truth in Andrei's words as she is subjected to the lowest and most degrading levels of the sex-for-hire business.
abandonment, poverty, prostitute/prostitution, Russia, sexual-slavery, suicide, suicide-attempt, teenagers