Unique, arresting and often grotesquely funny, Songs from the Second Floor presents us with 45 obsessively composed dramatic vignettes of decaying civilisation, set in and around a clammy Nordic city resembling a 1930s surrealist prophecy of Y2K apocalypse. There’s no plot, only a cumulative sense of impending doom as the hapless cast of failed businessmen, insurance swindlers, crucifix salesmen and senile fascists fitfully negotiate their way towards the ultimate betrayal of future generations. — BG
Even if we never see the insurance-grabbing fire set by furniture salesman Kalle in the astonishing Songs from the Second Floor, the notoriously obsessive Roy Andersson is well aware that the jokes don’t come from the set-up, but with the punch line. Portraying the destinies of 50 different characters in a series of 45 carefully composed vignettes with no apparent logical construct, Andersson’s crafty, apocalyptic burlesque is what most people thought might happen when the clock struck triple zero… Andersson draws his influence not from filmic sources, but painterly trompe-l’oeil, and the German expressionism of Otto Dix and Max Beckmann. As well as real life, of course – Andersson found his actors in restaurants, on the streets and in… Ikea. Andersson’s in medias res wonders (scored by ABBA’s Benny Andersson, no relation) are more than the sum of their parts. He is selling a distinct, bleak view of the human condition. — Mark Peranson, Vancouver Film Festival 2000.
1.71B | 1h 38mn | 960×576 | mkv