Friday, May 11, 2018

Du levande/You, the Living (2007)

About six months ago, I came across En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron by Roy Andersson.  (The title translates roughly as A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.)  It was a very subdued, muted film that seemed to comment on the nature of life.  I was able to get it streaming through Netflix.  It was the third in a trilogy.  I was able to rent the second movie in the trilogy, Du levande (You, the Living) on DVD.

Du levande has that same muted quality to it.  I could probably copy large parts of my other review here, they’re that similar.  It’s a movie consisting of several short scenes, some related to others and some seemingly independent.  One couple is featured in several scenes where they argue with each other.  In another set of scenes, various musicians practice, either alone or as a group.  A driver recalls a dream he had where he was sentenced for breaking centuries-old dishes.

It has an almost Seinfeld-like quality in that it’s mostly everyday stuff.  It’s not necessarily comedic.  Some of it can be a little odd or depressing.  (A psychiatrist recounts how he has 27 patients wanting help that he can’t provide.)  There’s definitely an absurd element to the movie.  It’s almost like a blunt elegance.  There aren’t a lot of details, but what few there are come through very clearly.

As with the third movie, there’s very little camera movement and the acting is almost monotone.  Characters break the fourth wall.  The technique is effective, though.  There doesn’t seem to be any connection in the narrative between this movie and the next one.  (The movies don’t have any characters in common.)  I also don’t feel like I was missing out by not having seen the first movie yet.  You could easily rent the two movies out of order.

If you’ve seen En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron and liked it, you’ll probably like this one.  I didn’t find it to be repetitive.  However, I don’t know that you’ll want to watch them back to back.  You might want to wait a few weeks just for pacing.  This movie was 95 minutes whereas En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron was 101 minutes.  Almost 200 minutes of this might be a bit much for someone to take in at once.

IMDb page

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