A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…
You, the Living
In the Swedish city of Lethe, people from different walks of life take part in a series of short, deadpan vignettes that rush past. Some are just seconds long, none longer than a couple of minutes. A young woman (Jessica Lundberg) remembers a fantasy honeymoon with a rock guitarist. A man awakes from a dream about bomber planes. A businessman boasts about success while being robbed by a pickpocket and so on. The absurdist collection is accompanied by Dixieland jazz and similar music.
Film #7 of Gustav's Recommendations
”Tommorow is another day.”
Well, I have a confession to make. I did something horrible (from a cinephilic point of view of course) while watching Roy Andersson’s 2000 film, Songs From the Second Floor: I was so bored, upset, angry and confused that I used fast forward button and skipped the final 15 minutes of the film. That explains how I felt about that “film”. So I was both hopeful and nervous approaching this, I had a feeling that things will be going to be as dire as Songs and at the same time I was hoping that this time around I may be able to understand what really goes on in Mr. Anderson’s mind.…
The biggest issue I had with You, the Living was that it wasn't, I repeat, it wasn't Leon.
"But they're completely different films!" I hear you cry. Bullshit. That's no excuse for this to not be that film. Every film should be Leon or else I'm going to hate it from now on. Heck, if every film isn't Leon from now on, I'm going to bomb anyone who isn't watching Leon because I'm charge of Hollywood now.
Okay. Fine. It's not Leon but either way I can't say I liked it an awful lot. I mean, I enjoyed it from time to time. It was absurd, and surreal and was meaningful, but I just don't think this style is for…
A black-comic version of THE WHITE RIBBON, depicting, with deadpan hilarity, the self-absorption and myopia that can leave a population blind to the rise of fascism, and plant the seed of it in the first place. Exquisitely composed so that its austerity nonetheless places visual gigs in multiple distance planes in nearly every shot. Not as obvious as in SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR, which occasionally cribbed right out of PLAYTIME, but Andersson seems, directorially at least, Tati's heir.
Gustav Roman told me to watch this. A LOOOONNNNGGG time ago. Now I can say I finally got to it. It was on Film4 so I taped it and watched it this morning.
You, the Living is an incredibly surreal film, packed of fifty or so vignettes, each commenting on the human condition. How we long to be loved, to fly above our weight. It doesn't offer an opinion on it, but merely a window to peer in, allowing you to assume your own stance on humanity. Is it pathetic, the fact we simply continue with our lives every day despite setbacks, never reaching our goal? Is it an undying ambition inside every one of us? Or is it just…
While Andersson’s Songs From The Second Floor focused on a society on the brink of becoming emotionless zombies, You, The Living seven years later acknowledges that we have finally gotten to that point. A series of 50 vignettes about the absurdity of life. Some ironic, some blackly comic and some just sad. Andersson seems to view the way most humans accept the dullness of life as ridiculous. He focuses on this with absurd scenes that highlight the strange rules we’ve given ourselves. Like when a man is given the death penalty for breaking some expensive china (the judges drink beer and the audience eats popcorn as he’s led to his death.) A man bemoans the fact that he’s about to…
Roy Andersson is some kind of insane genius. This was my first experience of his style and it has totally blown me away.
His carefully constructed mise-en-scene makes every single shot a work of art as he points his camera at the absurdity of the realities of modern life. So many times I found myself laughing hysterically at what ordinarily might be considered horribly sad events and I think that is the true genius behind this film.
Andersson's humour and insight will certainly further reward repeat viewings, something I intend to do myself in the very near future.
You, the Living is cut very much from the same pattern as Andersson's Songs From the Second Floor. Comprised, as usual, as a series of creaky tableaux, the film chugs along with an amusing, deadpan sensibility that sees its cast of pallid, depressed miserables endure the agony and disappointments of modern life. Andersson creates a decidedly artificial world, and it is at its funniest when it is most hermetically sealed off from reality. For example, one episode featuring a despairing daughter and her senile mother cuts too close to the bone to inspire many chuckles, even if one can abstractly grasp the comedy that arises as she unsuccessfully begs her ailing mum to recall her childhood miseries.
Unfortunately, after a…
A poignant film about the inherent silliness of modern life.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Possibly the weakest film in the "Human Trilogy" if only because the series of trivial events don't feel like they add up to as much as the the bookend films. It also suffers from a lack of strong, interesting recurring characters like Sam and Jonathon ("Pigeon") or Karl ("Songs").
In terms of construction and style, where You differs from the other films is a primary use of music, to the extent of on camera appearances of guitars, marching bands and the recurring tuba. The soundtrack is quite upbeat and lively, and for a time I thought the film was going to have different tempo and rhythm (Which possibly would have been interesting) from the others. Sadly things soon descended into…
On the surface I kind of liked the idea of this film. 50 short sketches all filmed in one take with few recurring characters and no plot. It starts off promisingly with a bizarre sing song and the film has a few standout vignettes including a man who is sentenced to death for breaking some priceless plates, a man who receives a bad haircut and a woman who dreams of marrying a rock star. Doesn't sound too exciting? Well it isn't. As the film goes on the comedy gets weaker and weaker and the film becomes dull, tedious and tiresome. It's an incredibly dry and bare film with lots of static long takes and glacial pacing. I'm a fan of…
A drab, bleakly funny cartoon of human existence
Andersson = Tati with a dour twist
First foray into Andersson, freed from having to grapple with the law of diminishing returns or contextualization within the trilogy. Had my complete attention, and yet I wonder if I could recount thirty of the fifty sketches a day later, which has more to do with the fact that the film requires a kind of retrained cerebral expectancy, with nearly all the jokes constructively off-hand and clipped somewhere before the orthodox punch-line, i.e. I did not even perceive the swastikas etched in the table because I was following the main action, the carpenter’s buffoonery, in the background. You really have to scan the frame to appreciate the complexity and precision of the visual comedy, the sneakily gridlocked camera at its…
Now in theatres: "You, the Living"
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
Sometimes I get stuck in a rut when it comes to watching films. I either just watch anything that comes…