The Big Issue : Edition 468
THEBIGISSUE26SEP–9OCT2014 33 choosing haircuts and thinking about set design: “I guess that’s traditionally seen as a more feminine domain and working with women is just easier.” While the pre-filming process consisted of six months of diligent research and preparation (Moodysson describes himself as “one of those annoying directors who wants to be in everything”), he sees his role on set as being more of a facilitator than a dictator. When not rolling around the floor laughing, his approach is radically hands off. “The most important thing as a director is to try to create a friendly atmosphere on set. I think that’s much more important than saying the right words and making the right direction and things like that. Taking care of people is more important than being smart. “It’s more like making a documentary. I just want to start something and see what happens. I’m very, very happy whenever I’m surprised by what the actors do or where the cinematographer points the camera.” Unlike many of his controlling peers, Moodysson doesn’t use storyboards to plan shots. This reluctance to be locked into specifics leads to valuable moments of spontaneity. “That, and I just cannot draw,” he laughs. Eliciting natural performances from young and inexperienced actors has been a defining feature of Moodysson’s career, though he says the age of the cast did sometimes present difficulties. “If someone is 18, you can push them a little bit more than you can if they’re 12. If [young actors] are tired or if they say something feels uncomfortable, they have a little bit more power.” Still, it’s a challenge he enjoys. “Ultimately, I respect them a bit more,” he says of his youthful charges, whose performances here are an unfettered joy. A thoughtful, self-deprecating figure, Moodysson is reluctant to be pinned down on future projects. “When I’m working on something, I like to keep it a secret, otherwise it doesn’t get done,” he says. That said, he reacts enthusiastically when asked about the notion of doing a television series, saying the possibility of telling a story over a number of years is something that intrigues him. With any luck, Moodysson’s next project will have the same sense of glee that runs through We Are the Best!, which winningly balances nostalgic warmth and spiky provocation. Whatever it is, he is likely to remain true to the unorthodox, intuitive working style that allows him to be such an empathetic observer of the real and slightly chaotic. “It’s exciting when things get out of hand. It’s nice to lose control.” by Daniel Herborn » We Are The Best! is in cinemas now. MIRA BARKHAMMAR, MIRA GROSIN AND LIV LEMOYNE IN WE ARE THE BEST!