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October 17- November 3. 2004

Selected Films of Roy Andersson

A former student of Ingmar Bergman, Roy Andersson (b. 1943) has achieved international celebrity status not for feature films but for his elaborate and creative television commercials - described by Bergman as the best in the world. Besides working in this distinctive métier, Andersson has also conceived three original works of narrative cinema, each awarded accolades for differing reasons. His most recent film, Songs From the Second Floor, won the Prix du Jury of the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.

Program notes adapted from the National Gallery of Art.

Special thanks to Elisabeth Halvarsson-Stapen, Cultural Affairs Officer of the Consulate General of Sweden, and the Swedish Film Institute.


October 17 (Sunday) 9:15 pm

Songs from the Second Floor (Sånger från andra våningen)

Directed by Roy Andersson
Sweden/France, 2000, color, 98 min.
With With Lars Nordh, Steffan Larsson, Bengt C.W. Carlsson
Swedish with English subtitles

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, Songs from the Second Floor is composed of forty-five precisely staged vignettes that present a series of personal tragedies and city-wide crises in the no man’s land of a perpetually overcast, postindustrialized Europe. An outrageous sense of global doom builds as a furniture shop owner burns down his store to collect the insurance money, a traffic jam brings a city to paralysis, a nightclub magician’s trick of sawing a man in half goes dreadfully wrong, and an immigrant is assaulted in full view of a crowd awaiting a bus. Director Roy Andersson, once dubbed “the unknown genius of contemporary cinema,” brings his precise mise-en-scène and surrealist visuals to bear on the underlying absurdity of modern existence with a humor that has been compared to that of Beckett, Kafka, and Keaton. A mordant black comedy turned nightmare, Songs from the Second Floor is a searing meditation on millennial decadence.

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October 20 (Wednesday) 9 pm

A Swedish Love Story (En kärlekshistoria)

Directed by Roy Andersson
Sweden, 1970, color, 115 min.
With Ann-Sofie Kylin, Rolf Sohlmann, Anita Lindblom
Swedish with English subtitles

In 1970, Roy Andersson made this first feature film, a critical and popular success that in several respects emulated an early, but more joyful, Ingmar Bergman. Two adolescents meet and cautiously fall in love amidst beautiful surroundings, during the peak of an idyllic Swedish summer. Oblivious to social boundaries, they innocently create their own milieu, expecting little from the adults around them.

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October 26 (Tuesday) 9:15 pm

Giliap

Directed by Roy Andersson
Sweden, 1975, color, 140 min.
With Thommy Berggren, Mona Seilitz, Willie Andréason
Swedish with English subtitles

The odd, poetic Giliap, a chamber play with actor Thommy Berggren as a day laborer who lands employment at the Hotel Busarewski, is a marked departure from the spirit and style of A Swedish Love Story. A once elegant establishment now run by a meticulous but sadly out-of-touch supervisor, the hotel maintains a strangely rigid hierarchical order with its few employees. It is Giliap's visuals, however, that give the film its special power.

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November 3 (Wednesday) 9 pm
Andersson Shorts

Something Happened

Directed by Roy Andersson
Sweden, 1987, color, 24 min.
With Klas-Gösta Olsson, Anne Tubin, Lennart Björklund
Swedish with English subtitles

Andersson uses his trademark tableaux and unconventional actors to examine the myths surrounding the AIDS epidemic. Originally funded by the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare, the project was nearly terminated when the Board couldn’t accept Andersson’s unforgivingly bleak worldview.

A World of Glory (Härlig är jorden)

Directed by Roy Andersson
Sweden, 1991, color, 14 min.
With Klas-Gösta Olsson, Lennart Björklund, Christer Christensen
Swedish with English subtitles

 

An average man discusses his average life including his work as a real estate agent and his relationship with his father, eventually revealing secrets that cause his world to literally crumble. As he did in Songs from the Second Floor, Andersson creates meticulous compositions to reflect his character’s troubled emotional state.

Roy Andersson’s Commercials

Directed by Roy Andersson
Sweden, 60 min.

 

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