Thursday, August 07, 2014

2014 Cinema Biennale Check #5 - Made in Sweden

Sweden representation in Venezia71 goes to none other than one of the most interesting contemporary Swedish directors, one that is recognized for his very particular cinematic style and one that I highly enjoy.

Roy Andersson

Born on March 1943 in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden. In 1969 he did his first feature-length film, A Swedish Love Story that went to win honors at 1970 Berlinale. After Andersson went into deep depression and is in 1975 when he does his second film that became a financial and critical disaster. Andersson took a 25-year break from film directing.

In 1996 he starts to do the first installment in the Living Trilogy, Sånger från andra våningen (Songs from the Second Floor) a film poem inspired by Peruvian poet César Vallejo that took him four years to make and went to win the Jury Prize at 2000 Cannes. His very particular style starts to show in this movie but is with the second installment -AWESOME- Du Levande (You, the Living) that is the movie that introduced me to this fantastic director and his peculiar cinematic style that can be described as dry/black humor, cold ambiance-color palette, deadpan and (fantastic) broken narrative. This film took him one year less to make it, meaning, only three years.

Admit that his style is not for general audiences but as a reference if you enjoy deadpan performances in coldish color palettes with a style similar -not equal BUT similar to Aki Kaurismäki, then perhaps you will enjoy Andersson style. Then there is a key element that also could give you clues to find if you like his style as Andersson is one of the privileged filmmakers that had a MOMA retrospective (2009) while he's alive -living-, so yes his movies tend to have more ART (with capital letters) than anything else.

He closes his Living Trilogy with En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence) which according to what Andersson says, he imagines that the birds watch the people below and wonder what they are doing ... a different way of saying "what are we actually doing" that's what the movie is about. By the way the title is a reference to the painting The Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. No doubt that this film will be another surreal voyage into Andersson's imagination and just check what he says:

"With my last two movies I embarked upon what I call "abstraction". I dared to leave realism and naturalism and entered the territory of abstract aesthetics. With this movie I will continue and perhaps go even deeper into abstraction, while making the images clearer and brighter."

I'm truly "dying" to see this film.

Basic info about En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence)
Director: Roy Andersson
Scriptwriter: Roy Andersson
Language: Swedish
Length: 100 min
Production countries: Sweden, Norway, France and Germany
Production company: Roy Andersson Filmproduktion AB, 4 1/2 Film, Essential Filmproduktion, Parisienne de Production, Arte France Cinema, ZDF/Arte

Like modern times' Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sam and Jonathan, two traveling salesmen peddling novelty items, take us on a kaleidoscopic wandering through human destinies. A trip that shows us the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, the humor and tragedy that is in us, life's grandeur as well as frailty of humanity.

Filming one scene

No comments yet