In Roy Andersson’s film work, the ambition is to come as close to the truth as possible. In some instances this objective has put Andersson in a difficult position with those who commission works from him. One example is the film Something Happened – an information film about AIDS, commissioned by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare – on which he began work in 1986. When Andersson in 1987 had three-fourths of the film completed, the Board forced him to stop production. The official explanation was that the film was too dark in its message, and it went unseen by the public for a number of years.
In the spring of 1993 Andersson was fully occupied with the production of commercials, when he finally received recognition for Something Happened. It was shown officially in Sweden for the first time in March 1993, but as in the case of Giliap the film received most attention abroad, where it won an enormous reception. It was shown at no fewer than 15 international short film festivals. The film received several eminent distinctions – among them the Golden Heron for Best Work at the International Short Film Festival in Montecatini in July 1993.
Andersson’s argument for why he shaped the film as he did was that he did not believe the medical establishment’s official explanation for the virus’s origins. Nor did he consider that the establishment had the right to close the discussion on this important question. In fact, the best thing to do would be to speak about how AIDS really did come about. He wanted to get at the lie, to remedy the dishonesty that he saw.
In the preparations for Something Happened Andersson and his colleagues studied for seven months on the question of the AIDS virus’s origin. Their working prerequisite was for every element in the film to be based on clear facts.
Language:Swedish, Directors commentaries in Swedish
Subtitles:Swedish & English (film and commentaries) sub/idx