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The Films of Roy Andersson: Songs from the Second Floor

Sat, Jan 15 / 6:40pm
Sun, Jan 30 / 5:45pm
Directed by Roy Andersson
2001, Sweden/Norway/Denmark, 98 mins
Swedish & Russian w/ English subtitles

Andersson’s fierce, triumphant return to narrative feature filmmaking, and winner of a Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 2000, Songs from the Second Floor was his first full-length project using techniques he’d honed in several hundred TV commercials and shorts such as World of Glory. Perhaps because its subject is the ways in which everything is reduced to the cash nexus, it is also his harshest film. Following failed furniture salesman Kalle (Lars Nordh) as he struggles to survive, Andersson’s narrative hints at other ways to view life, all of which are summarily rejected by his main character. (Kalle believes, for instance, that his son was ruined by poetry.) All spiritual pursuits and events are immediately monetized. Things play out as one might expect when an old friend of Kalle’s convinces him that Christianity is making a comeback — it being the year 2000 — and gets him to invest in crucifixes. Despite the bleak outlook on existence, almost every shot is charged with an unsettling beauty, as if Andersson and his team had reinvented the medium, like Georges Méliès with a more apocalyptic bent.

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.

Reviews

Strange, funny, twisted, brilliant and macabre.
- Desson Thomson, Washington Post
Like an Ingmar Bergman movie as realized by Monty Python[.]
- Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
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