Exploring gender identity, sexuality, and love.
By B. Root
Alexandra-Therese Keining’s new Swedish film Girls Lost follows three best friends as they explore gender identity, sexuality, and love during the transitional time between childhood and adulthood.
Kim (Tuva Jagell/Emrik Öhlander), Momo (Louise Nyvall/Alexander Gustavsson), and Bella (Wilma Holmén/Vilgot Ostwald Vesterlund) are the closest of friends. They bike to school together, they have the same classes, and they hang out together after the last bell rings. They are always at each other’s side. Because of this, the boys in their school bully them by calling them ugly, lesbians, and worse. One day after school, Bella is looking through packages of seeds she ordered and finds one she didn’t purchase. The girls decide to plant this mysterious seed to see what will grow. Later that night, the girls come back to Bella’s greenhouse to find the plant already fully grown. They wonder aloud if the plant is magic, and after realizing the flower smells like vanilla, the girls decide to squeeze the juice from the buds to taste it. Shortly thereafter, the girls magically transform into boys.
Thrilled by their new bodies, the three go to the park to see how they are received by some of their classmates hanging out there. They quickly notice that not only are they no longer harassed, but as boys they are warmly welcomed and invited to join in on their soccer match. For a moment, it feels like Kim, Momo, and Bella are just regular kids.
At the end of the night, the girls promise each other that they will not drink from the plant alone. However, this promise becomes increasingly difficult for Kim to keep as she remembers how comfortable and happy she felt as a boy. As this begins creating a rift in her relationship with Momo and Bella, Kim has to decide which is more important to her: being true to herself or to her friends.
In an interview, writer and director Keining said, “In Girls Lost, fairy tale and imagination are mixed in a realistic depiction of what it’s like to grow up today, seen from a girl’s perspective. I wanted to examine the limits of self and the body, and show that the phenomena of identity and gender are in perpetual motion—something that is constantly changing and negotiable. I wanted to portray gender as a fluid notion, not an absolute, and explore ideas about how gender influences how we move through the world and how we are treated by others.”
Based on the award-winning novel Pojkarna by Jessica Schiefuerm, Girls Lost is a compelling coming-of-age story that both explores and questions gender identity and sexuality in a new and fantastic way.
Girls Lost will be available December 13 on DVD and VOD through Wolfe Video (wolfevideo.com).
B. Root is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.