MIFF: You, The Living (Sweden)

Du Levande

In a wasteland of monochromatic post-industrial dullness we see fleeting moments of quiet desperation, quixotic humour and heaving torpor. It’s kind of like Samuel Beckett went to Ikea and came back with everything and a kitchen sink. The characters are beautifully realised archetypes and their stories, unravelled across intersecting vignettes, present modern maladies and ennui with a dark but often funny zeal. Underneath it all, the filmmaker Roy Andersson sprinkles political references with a prophetic doomsday mentality. There are swastikas hiding in the most delicious of homes, death is waiting around the corner, racism is only a haircut away and love seems the hardest thing to find. However, it isn’t all grim mortality on show. Indeed, there are moments of hilarity, musical interludes and a witty precision in every department of the film, from the set dressing to the performances. It’s hard to see this film joining the ranks of quirky Swedish movie success stories (think As it is in Heaven) if only because it’s perhaps a little too bleak for mainstream distribution, so catch it at MIFF this Sunday while you can.

Screening at Regent: Sun, 12th 2007f August, 11:00 AM