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
After witnessing an act of unprecedented violence without even flinching, an emotionally numb real-estate agent visits his ailing mother at the hospital, and then, the graveyard. Is there a speck of happiness in this cruel and short life?
A person dying while opening a bottle of wine. And now for something completely different.
But Roy Andersson's movies are like that. You better brace yourself for a sequence of images, scenes and characters that may or may not fit together but are guaranteed to surprise, amuse and sometimes shock you.
It's better not to get specific with the plot. Mostly because there hardly IS one. But also because it unfolds chaotically, surreally, and the pleasure lies in its unfolding before your eyes. Snippets, shots, vignettes, events - uncensored, unorganized, like life itself.
The themes are down-to-earth. The scenes are fantastical. What would you call this: realist surrealism? supernatural naturalism? We are led from Swedish housing complexes to depressing industrial areas, faced with the doom and misery of urban Scandinavia.
Humanity is explored through its senseless capacity for inflicting boredom and suffering on itself and on others. No one is spared. This is pure existentialism on cinema - but with the hope of transcendence.
The audience reactions vary from bemused silence to Benny Hill laughter. You take out of this film what you are ready to give in.
Some may find the plodding pace tiring, the characters soulless and the gray urban settings drab and lifeless. But that is sort of the point.
As a sort of midpoint between Buñuel and Loach, Andersson's style is not to everyone's taste, and not without its faults. Just be ready to embrace, and enjoy, the misery of existence. Perhaps you'll be delighted, like I was, to find humour and absurdity in suffering.
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