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The Films of Roy Andersson: Giliap

Tue, Jan 18 / 9:10pm
Thu, Jan 20 / 9pm
Directed by Roy Andersson
1975, Sweden, 137 mins
Swedish w/ English subtitles

Andersson’s rarely screened, notorious second feature, Giliap, represented a significant departure for the director. While his debut worked within a naturalist framework, Giliap is propelled by a muted absurdism, and populated by somnambulant drifters. Its most energetic character is a near-Dickensian tyrant who runs the fading luxury hotel that serves as the film’s primary location. The hotel’s main sources of income are its restaurant and (especially) bar. The world outside is filled with rundown drunks who lurch like the zombies in George Romero’s Living Dead series. The ostensible hero is a taciturn waiter (Bo Widerberg favourite Thommy Berggren), who resembles a Beckett character with less motivation. He remains unnamed until Gustav, a psychotic schemer and the hotel’s only guest, dubs him “Giliap.” The two key plot developments are Giliap’s troubled romance with waitress Anna, and the bizarre, unexplained criminal plot Gustav ropes Giliap into. The film is somewhat ungainly, yet the atmosphere is similar to the hypnotic tableaux of Andersson’s subsequent work. Ambitious and adventurous, Giliap plays the same pivotal role for Andersson that Les Carabiniers did for Godard — adumbrating a significant shift in aesthetics and focus — though it would be another decade before he pursued these ideas in a feature format: Disappointed by Giliap’s reception, he turned to producing commercials for over 10 years, where he would hone the mature style he’s known for.

Songs from the Second Floor: The Films of Roy Andersson was made possible as part of Nordic Bridges 2022 in collaboration with Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, and TIFF.

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The Films of Roy Andersson: Giliap

Tue, Jan 18 / 9:10pm
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