Forortsungar (AKA Kidz in da Hood)

Not much is known about the sweet little Swedish film named Forortsungar on this side of the Atlantic, though whoever came up with the idiotically translated Kidz in da Hood needs to get their head out of 1994. Thankfully, Forortsungar is a warm, quirky, all-ages film that really does make you feel good without resorting to shmaltzy, button-pushing emotional syrup.

Amina is a child refugee from Sierra Leone who finds herself rooming temporarily with a punk rocker named Johan in an urban housing project somewhere in Sweden. Definitely an Odd Couple, the two nevertheless form a bond neither wants to break. Out of this basic premise grows a warm film that avoids the clichés one would expect from a Hallmark or Disney flick- or rather, the clichés found in this movie’s plot are told in a fresh neorealist style that makes them easy to digest. Exploring the world from Amina’s point of view, meeting the kids that make up her environment, watching her assimilate as she tries to find her footing in an alien landscape… there’s an innocence to this rough-and-tumble reality that makes every character in here easy to love.

Add to that an oddball stylistic twist halfway into the film, and what started off as a “gritty, urban” flick ends up being a sweet, fantastical movie for the world to enjoy.

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