Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Songs from the Second Floor (2000)

Original Title

Sånger från andra våningen


Comedy | Drama


Roy Andersson


Sweden | Norway | Denmark


Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson, Bengt C. W. Carlsson, Torbjörn Fahlström, Sten Andersson, Rolando Núñez, Lucio Vucina, Per Jörneliu, Peter Roth, Klas-Gösta Olsson, Nils-Åke Eriksson, Hanna Eriksson, Tommy Johansson, Sture Olsson, Fredrik Sjögren


A magician (Lucio Vucina) screws up and saws a volunteer from the audience in half. A man (Lars Nordh) tries to claim insurance from the shop he burnt down himself. In the meantime outside, business managers take into long marches through the streets of Stockholm, and the city itself is paralyzed by a never ending traffic congestion.


First installment of the Living trilogy by Roy Andersson closed by the better known "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence", this film won the Cannes Film Festival award in 2000, and there is a good reason for that.

"Songs from the Second Floor" is a unique, witty and fantastic film poem that examines the society we live in.

Through a sarcastic declination of reality, Roy Andersson provides a splendid portrait of society, a society where individuals do not communicate or interact anymore, and that depersonalizes people by subtracting the meaning of our lives, transforming us into zombies who identify themselves with their job instead of who they really are.

Those who call it a series of meaningless vignettes clearly didn't understand anything about the film, because if there's something in the film is meaning. You can say it's slow, boring, not engaging, but you can't say it's meaningless.

Andersson's direction is one of the film's strengths: no camera movements, no shot reverse shot, sound/noise reduced to a minimum. The camera is literally still - only one scene makes exception -, the actors on the other hand move on the scene.

Mainly made of depressed middle-aged men, the cast primarily consists of non actors who made an impression on Andersson, and they will make an impression on you too.

Worth checking out.

What can I say? It's not easy being human. - Kalle