March 28, 2008

You, the Living in the UK.

You, the Living "'Painterly' is an overused adjective for films, but here's one where it makes sense," writes Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian. "I don't know of any filmmaker whose work gives the viewer so much incentive and indeed leisure to examine the background of a shot.... You, the Living is a very funny film - though in the darkest possible way. It is a silent comedy, but with words."

"To call it deadpan is barely to hint at [Roy] Andersson's style, which he mostly applies to the world of commercials (watch them on YouTube, they're hilarious)," writes Dave Calhoun in Time Out. "But just when you think the only answer to Andersson's view of the world – alcoholic couples; depressed psychiatrists; a girl searching for a disappeared rock star who shows her a modicum of affection – is to throw yourself under one of Stockholm's trams, he unleashes a set-piece that has you marvelling at its choreography or wondering at the sheer ridiculousness of life."

Updated through 3/30.

"You, The Living is only Andersson's fourth feature since 1970," notes Sukhdev Sandhu in the Telegraph. "His ability to amuse and chasten audiences simultaneously, to conjure up as if from nowhere magical scenes in which an apartment morphs into a train carriage, to integrate into a bracingly energetic Dixieland-jazz score the prayer of a woman - 'Forgive those who bomb and destroy cities and villages; forgive governments who withhold the truth from the people': this is rare and covetable genius."

"If the director is a miserabilist who makes Bergman look like a regular happy chappie, at least his observation of us all is almost as good as that master's," writes Nick Curtis in the Evening Standard.

"The non-narrative mosaic and the sometimes enigmatic nature of the skits take some getting used to, while the bland, Ikea-style conformity of the decor may begin to creep you out," writes Anthony Quinn in the Independent. "Yet Andersson's impassive, off-the-wall reflections on the human condition do feel unique, and the comedy, even at its bleakest, is oddly mesmerising."

Earlier: Reviews from Cannes.

Update, 3/30: "Songs From the Second Floor was largely political: its targets the church, the capitalist system, fascism and a world running out of control," writes the Observer's Philip French. "You, the Living is about everyday life, death and the human condition, 'about the vulnerability of human beings,' as Andersson puts it. The title is a quotation from Goethe: 'Be pleased then, you, the living, in your delightfully warmed bed, before Lethe's ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot.'"

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Posted by dwhudson at March 28, 2008 7:58 AM