You, The Living (Du Levande) 

Watched: 19 August

More perfectly-staged and blackly comic tableaux from Roy Andersson, and a film that’s similar to the two works that sit either side of it in his recently-completed trilogy (both of which I’ve watched before getting round to this one; I don’t think the order in which you see them makes much difference). I prefer You, The Living to Songs From The Second Floor, simply because I found it funnier and enjoyed its oddly-rousing musical interludes, and it’s probably on a par for me with A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence. The visual style is of a piece with Andersson’s other work, and I personally really like the milky, washed-out look that he goes for, with its emphasis on very pale greens, yellows and blues. It’s an anaemic, jaundiced-looking world, but I find it very appealing as it suits the material and I also quite like the way these colour-drained surroundings seem to add to the misery experienced by the characters – a mix of downtrodden people with imperfect bodies, drunks and hopelessly timid individuals. The scenarios here are often very funny, particularly the dream sequences; there’s one in which a guy tries to rip a tablecloth from underneath a huge antique dinner service that really had me chuckling, and a marital flight-of-fancy that’s weirdly joyous, even if much of the rest of the film proceeds with the director’s typical cheerless, dispirited tone. (****½)

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