You, the Living (Du levande, Sweden 2007, SFIFF 2008), Roy Andersson continues to display his unique take on humanity in this amalgamation of encounters and tableaux covering various facets of existence.
“According to the folks who study such things, Sweden is a perennial contender for the status of most depressed nation. So it’s the perfect setting for a pre-apocalyptic comedy about isolation, alienation and interdependence. You, the Living, Roy Andersson’s deadpan burlesque, disdains narrative convention and character development in favor of a series of elegantly composed, absurdly funny tangentially linked tableaux. A man awakens with a start as the soundtrack rumbles, spooked by a nightmare of bombers approaching. A grammar school teacher sobs in front of her students, stricken that her husband called her a hag. A woman on a park bench chases off her boyfriend with an angry cascade of self-pitying laments—then breaks into song. An aged psychiatrist bemoans the pointlessness and exhaustion of treating mean people. And in the upper reaches of an office building, the laconic Louisiana Brass Band rehearses propulsive New Orleans jazz. Alas, it has to narrow its repertoire when called on later to play a funeral. One may detect the faintest echoes of Beckett and Pinter, leavened with a pinch of Ionesco and Tati. The casting of nondescript nonprofessionals with profoundly ordinary demeanors and deliveries enhances the effect. Andersson, a genuine iconoclast, almost never moves the camera, pinpointing his characters within a fixed frame to emphasize how stuck they are. On a couple of occasions, someone intones semi-optimistically, ‘Tomorrow is another day.’ Ah, but what if tomorrow doesn’t come? Either way, Andersson suggests, it behooves us, the living, to show kindness, express our love and be joyful—today.” —Michael Fox
Written by Roy Andersson. Photographed by Gustav Danielsson. With Jessica Lundberg, Elisabet Helander, Björn Englund. In Swedish with English subtitles. 90 min. Distributed by Palisades Pictures.
Official Website: http://www.sffs.org/content.aspx?pageid=1178
Added by cinesoul on September 2, 2009