Where are we humans going? A film poem inspired by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. We meet people in the city. People trying to communicate, searching compassion and get the connection of small and large things.
Bengt C.W. Carlsson
A plain, ordinary man tells us about his work as a real-estate broker, his dead father, his ordinary home and so on in a naturalistic voice, lacking any emotions, looking straight into the ... See full summary »
In a minor town the morose manager is primarily responsible for the bad atmosphere of a restaurant. But central for the plot are three persons: a male waiter who is never named (here called... See full summary »
A series of scenes that focus specially on a single idea, emotion or act us. In the absence of interfering qualities this film is able to take one factoring influence and amplify it to absurd and hilarious proportions. Each scene gives us an uninterrupted view at some of the more unglamorous characteristics that in the end determine who we are, both as individuals and as a thread in the patchwork of the collective human unconscious. Written by
The film is based on the Norse proverb "Man is man's delight", from Hávamál. Roy Andersson said that the thousand year old formulation of a truth was so beautiful that it was meant to be carved in stone and never forgotten. See more »
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
[examines the large stack of patient's files]
I am a psychiatrist. I have been for 27 years. I'm completely worn out. Year after year, listening to patients who aren't satisfied with their lives, who want to have fun, who want me to help them with that - it wears you out, I can tell you. My life isn't exactly a lot of fun either. People demand so much. That's the conclusion I've drawn after all these years. They demand to be happy, at the same time as they are ...
See more »
I really didn't see this one coming. Roy Andersson had me pegged out, I am the perfect sucker for a static camera (long live King Borowczyk!) and I was laughing hysterically for the first fifteen minutes of the film, he hit me straight between the eyes. You have to be a brilliant man to make self-pity hilarious. Andersson reminds me of the third mate on the Pequod in Moby Dick, Flask, a man who took the whole of life to be a practical joke that the good lord Himself is playing on us. And the web of egotism in this movie is truly hilarious.
The level of satire is at fever pitch, you have one deluded self-pitying dreamer harp on about the cruelty of the world and then totally ignore a spiritual self-reflection crying out in agony. The very depths of egotism are plumbed. I really never thought it possible to go further than Bergman's "The Silence" in this respect. However the grotesqueness of the self-love and self-regard, by every single character in this film, is staggering. We are shown an existence where the talentless and the idle rail against a world they believe has been unjust towards them, they truly are legends in their own living rooms. The human beings in this film make self-deception and self-delusion a great artform!
Only one woman in the film appears to have any sort of understanding of what is going on. An old woman who refuses to leave a chapel, knelt down praying for the forgiveness of all mankind, her speech is the most electrifying condemnation of the modern world I have ever heard. She reveals through her prayers that what is wrong with the world is not to be fixed by mere tinkering, there are not a just a few faults, there is an abyss of corruption that can only be mended by immolation, and judgement day. Watching this movie puts me in the mind of a naked monk, stood waist deep in a cold river at midnight screaming out a thousand Kyrie eleisons for the sins of humanity. Another grand jape is that it is clear that her prayers are futile, and in fact she is stopping everyone going home at closing time.
This is not a film for the smug, no-one is spared, no idols are left on the altar, no one group of humans is harangued to the glory of another group. Never has there been a greater more transcendent more astonishingly beautiful summation of our sins. It is a film for the end of the world, it is the grand jest, the great hideous practical joke of human life!
From the catalogue of images it is too difficult to pick a favourite, I slapped my thigh and almost fell off my chair in the cinema, screaming with laughter as a man attempted to pull the tablecloth from under a set service. I won't spoil what happens, but the suspense builds up, and something truly unexpected occurs. It is probably the funniest thing I have ever seen in a cinema. I am quite reserved and I just couldn't control myself: that is the measure of the greatness of this film.
The shooting of "You, the Living" is impeccably formalist. We are shown the palette of an artist, dingy browns, yellows, greys, and sky blues set alive by the shock of luminous brass textures. There is never a tone out of place, it's like an hour and a half of symphonic Whistlerian colour-meld. The obsession that must have gone into putting that colour scheme in place is extraordinary. And no shot is wasted, as with all great movies, there is not a spare inch of celluloid.
Perhaps the best film I've ever seen.
35 of 44 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?