The Local's Swedish film of the month: You, the Living

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The Local's Swedish film of the month: You, the Living
Roy Andersson at Sweden's Guldbagge Awards in 2008. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Film writer Peter Larkin reviews Swedish director Roy Andersson's wonderfully strange 'You, the Living' (2007).


Roy Andersson uses his native Gothenburg to stage various vignettes which are at once dramatically striking and humorous in a way which specifically Gothenburg.

Andersson doesn't believe in CGI; each set and effect was painstaking created by his production team at Andersson's studio in Stockholm. It received Best Film, Director and Screenplay at the Guldbagge Awards in Stockholm.

'You, the Living' ('Du levande') features 50 vignettes within 95 minutes, and Andersson shows his development from his wonderful TV adverts. The tragicomic tone has the actors often speaking to the camera with grim make-up; they are the ghosts of Andersson's world which is as creative and exciting as anything from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Such funny and outrageous moments include a table party trick gone wrong, a wedding suite which is an unexpected moving train, and a business consultant getting a haircut from an angry barber.

A friend informed me that Andersson's films have a peculiar sense of humour which he finds hard to explain as a native of Gothenburg. It is special and surreal, worth seeking out as an introduction to Andersson's work.

Peter Larkin is an Irish film writer with a love for Swedish cinema. Read his blog here.


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