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Modern Maestros: Roy Andersson

21 January 2010 10:14 PM, PST | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

Robert here, with another installment in my series on directors who define our times. The difference between this series and the Directors of the Decade is subtle. Yet the change allows me to feature someone like this week’s Maestro, whose exposure may be too small to have impacted the decade, yet is one of the most imaginative directors currently working.

Maestro: Roy Andersson

Known For: Vignette filled films, examining the tragic-comedy that is life.

Influences: He claims Van Gogh more than anything. But there’s also some Fellini, Gilliam and Bergman (who Andersson believes to be overrated).

Masterpieces: Songs From the Second Floor

Disasters: his 2nd film Giliap was a commercial and critical disaster. But that was 35 years ago, not relevant to a series focused on the “modern”.

Better than you remember: Still, those who trashed that film were misguided.

Awards: Some awards here and there in Berlin and Cannes but never the Gold. »

- Robert

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Cornell Boxes

12 January 2010 12:47 PM, PST | ifc.com | See recent IFC news »

Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson has a completely distinctive way of making movies -- which translates to, he's fortunate enough to have happened on a visual vocabulary that's at the same time unique and deadpan and invigorating. Famously, Andersson has made only four features in over 40 years; after the failure of his second, 1975's "Giliap," he "retired" and spent over two decades going gangbusters as a commercial director, and developed his distinctive style, a kind of full-frontal, cold-blooded Beckettian art-comedy. Only in 2000, with "Songs from the Second Floor," did Andersson decide the dry one-shot trope that was so funny in TV ads could work differently, mordantly, at length, and could build a feature.

Shot in wide angle from a personal-space-respecting distance in a fluorescent-lit world of moldy green pastels and ashen-faced zombie-humans acting out the absurd machinations of modern life, Andersson's mature films make his dyspeptic Scando-brother Aki Kaurismäki look like Baz Luhrmann by comparison. »

- Michael Atkinson

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2 items from 2010


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