“Be pleased then, you living one, in your delightfully warmed bed, before Lethe’s ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot.”–Goethe, Roman Elegies, the quote that begins You, the Living
DIRECTED BY: Roy Andersson
FEATURING: A large cast of unknowns, who are given approximately equal weight in the story
PLOT: A man napping on a couch awakes, looks into the camera, and tells us that he had a nightmare that bombers were coming. The movie then shows us fifty or so dryly absurd scenes involving many unhappy characters in a nameless Swedish city, some of whom relate their dreams to us. Memorable sketches include a musician who tells us of his mutual fund performance while making love and a young girl spurned by a rock musician who dreams that they get married.
- Director Roy Andersson made short films beginning in 1967. After his first two features, En kärlekshistoria (1970) and Giliap (1975), he began directing commercials and did not return to movies until the critically acclaimed (and Certified Weird) Songs from the Second Floor (2000). This, only his fourth feature film, was completed when he was 64 years old.
- You, the Living was refused funding by the Swedish Film Institute; Andersson reportedly accused the body of nepotism after the requested funding was instead granted to a relative of a member of the Institute. The movie was eventually completed with funding from five different countries, and is officially listed as a Swedish-French-German-Danish-Norwegian co-production.
- The actors in the film are mostly amateurs with no previous feature film credits. The musician is played by Eric Bäckman, a member of the Swedish gothic metal band “Deathstars.”
- All of the scenes (except one exterior) were shot on soundstages created in Andersson’s own studio.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Everyone talks about the bittersweet wedding fantasy, although the nude heavyset woman riding a skinny man while wearing his spiked military band helmet is also fairly indelible, perhaps for the wrong reasons.
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Disorientingly constructed as a series of sketches with common
English language trailer for You, the Living
characters, some completely naturalistic and some totally absurd, united by uneasy, melancholy comedy, You, the Living feels like a series of dreams trapped inside a larger dream.
COMMENTS: An enigmatic movie deserves an enigmatic title, and You, the Living gives Continue reading 54. YOU, THE LIVING [DU LEVANDE] (2007)