Fucking Åmål (Show Me Love). 1998. Written and directed by Lukas Moodysson. With Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecka Liljeberg, Erica Carlson. 35mm. In Swedish; English subtitles. 89 min.
In 1999, Hollywood produced an absolute bounty of teen films. 10 Things I Hate About You, American Pie, She’s All That, Cruel Intentions, Drive Me Crazy, and Varsity Blues all made their theatrical debuts—films with nearly entirely white casts, driven by male humor with little sensitivity to the female experience. In early 1999, in Sweden, Lukas Moodysson’s film Fucking Åmål (Show Me Love), similarly marketed to teens but considerably more sensitive, realistic, and queer than its American counterparts, was enjoying continued success at the box office. Set in the sleepy small town of Åmål, too painfully boring for its main characters to bear, the film follows depressed 16-year-old Agness as she spends her days writing a computer diary, chronicling her yearning for her brash, outgoing classmate Elin. In a moment straight from a ’90s American film, Elin kisses Agness on a bet at her sparsely attended 16th birthday party, sending the two on a confusing journey of young love. Described by Ingmar Bergman in his 20th Century of Bergman essays as “a young master’s first masterpiece,” Show Me Love has rightfully earned its place in the new queer canon.