The Films of Roy Andersson: You, the Living

The second installment in Roy Andersson’s “living trilogy” inhabits the same creepily beautiful milieu as its predecessor, Songs from the Second Floor. Zombie-like characters lumber through another batch of grim and risible vignettes, like a poem cycle starring a collection of droopy clowns. Despite the characters’ existential dread, the film is brisk and silly—like a mash-up of Buster Keaton and Kafka—with a particularly spirited soundscape. Cartoonishly oversized trumpets and drums, the sounds of the Swedish city, ceremonial refrains, a dirge, the strumming of a rock guitarist—and most importantly, the weary characters’ whiny soliloquies—form a veritable symphony, buoying along mundane and miserable lives with irreverent pomp. Aided by this propulsive musicality, Andersson’s quippy critiques of capitalism and indulgences in paranoia move from funerals to nightmarish trials, stunningly presented with his trademark static shots of his hand-built alternate reality.

Dir. Roy Andersson, 2007, 35mm, 95 min.