Like modern times’ Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sam and Jonathan, two travelling salesmen peddling novelty items, take us on a kaleidoscopic wandering through human destinies. A trip that shows us the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, the humour and tragedy that is in us, life’s grandeur as well as frailty of humanity. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence was Awarded Golden Lion for Best Film at the 2014 Venice International Film Festival. Continue reading
“A selection of Andersson’s droll little capitalist nightmares (‘the best in the world’ according to Ingmar Berman) featuring color-drained people who have ceased to be consumers and become the consumed. Middle-aged newlyweds pound one another’s skulls with appliances; new purchases bring disasters; and an infamous ad for Sweden’s Social Democratic Party rhetorically asks ‘Why Should We Care About One Another’ as nurses offhandedly toss patients around rooms, teachers shake down kids for lunch money, and commuters kick a man while he’s down” (Jason Sanders, Pacific Film Archive). Continue reading
The dreams and nightmares of today’s society come to tragicomic life in Roy Andersson’s Du levande (You, the Living), which was part of the Un certain regard section at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. The dark yet at turns hilarious take on the state of man in the 21st century is a very successful look at the desperate mess of modern life. Like his previous Cannes winner Sånger från andra våningen (Songs from the Second Floor, from 2000), its particular brand of dark Nordic comedy took several years to develop and could again delight audiences across the continent. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Mother, father and sister visit the adult son in the family in his small apartment for a dinner. The father gives one critical view after the other about his sons life.
Roy Anderssons school shorts has not got the same aesthetics as his most well-known works; “You, the Living”, “World of Glory” and “Songs from the Second Floor”. But it is easy to compare them to his other early works, such as “A Swedish Love Story” and “Giliap”. This is the first of major three school films Roy Andersson made. All released recently by Scanbox and SFI in a dvd collection containing the best known Andersson shorts. Continue reading
Roy Andersson premiered his second feature-length film, “Giliap”, in 1975. The film is a marked departure from “A Swedish Love Story”, and that is no accident. Success brought pressure onto Andersson to make “A Swedish Love Story II”. But he didn’t want to be someone who churned out yet another film in the same spirit, and then one more… So he changed style drastically in “Giliap”. Andersson had great hopes for the film, but it found neither a public nor positive reviews. “Giliap” did, however, win a larger reception abroad, especially in France. Yet despite its meagre successes in Sweden, the film is interesting, not least aesthetically. For here one finds the first seeds of Andersson’s distinctive film style. Continue reading
A true masterpiece. One of the most interesting movies coming out of Sweden in a long time. It is breathtaking, beautiful and important.
The scenes are treated more as theater set-pieces, there is only one camera move in the whole film. But Roy has crafted them so carefully as to create a beautiful photo of each scene.
Some interesting trivia before you continue with the review below. The main actor was discovered when Roy was visiting an IKEA store. He has no acting background at all.
Being a man with desire for control almost all sets were created in Roy Andersson’s studio, for example, the whole train station interior was built there.
Instead of me trying to write a review, I blatantly copied another on the spot one.
Like the red-eye passengers in The Langoliers, the people in Songs From The Second Floor exist in a dead moment in time. They inhabit a city full of people, where creativity, imagination and beauty have fled; their world is passing on, even if they are not. The stock market has crashed, religion is dead, everyone wants to leave (both literally and metaphorically), social order is starting to break down, and all anyone wants to do is wait for it to pass. It is a startling vision from Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson that took four years to make, and it represents a perfect marriage of theatre, cinema and pure art. Continue reading