She-Monkeys (12, DVD only)
Almost certainly the only Swedish drama to evoke the spectre of Tonya Harding, Lisa Aschan’s distinctive coming-of-age saga charts the friendship and rivalry that develops between two sporty girls: Emma (Mathilda Paradeiser), sensible new recruit to an afterschool gymkhana, and the club’s glacial, imperious front rider Cassandra (Linda Molin). These two first bond while getting their teeth into the local boys, but really only have eyes for one another – which gets tricky, when it turns out there are but limited places on the team. Aschan renders these girls’ giggly pleasures and growing pains as part of a loose sequence of funny, weird, forever vivid formative moments, coaxing terrific performances from her limber young leads: while marvelling at Paradeiser and Molin’s mad vaulting skills, we spy the mistakes Emma and Cassandra are likely to make in later life, if they don’t or cannot correct themselves. A small gem, all too keenly informed by painful memories of what it takes to be best in show.
She-Monkeys is available on DVD through Peccadillo from Monday.