If Roy Andersson (shown below) had decided to call his newest film More Songs from the Second Floor, I wouldn't have minded a bit, for that's really what it is. His latest endeavor, YOU, THE LIVING (Du levande in its original Swedish) is so similar in style, content, and feeling to his earlier film Songs from the Second Floor that it seems almost a sequel. There is no
other moviemaker like Mr. Andersson (in my experience, at least), though in his recent film Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman comes surprisingly close to a similar feeling, content and even some shades of Andersson's poetic and quite beautiful style. (Kaufman's film tells a long shaggy-dog tale of inter-
connected characters, while Andersson is content to give us short scenes and stories that are connected by theme, humanity and the director's singular style.)
If you have not seen either of Andersson's movies, I'm going to suggest viewing You, the Living first. It's been several years since I encountered Songs from the Second Floor, but as I recall, that earlier film deals in more major events and themes: religion, finance (as does this new one), the Holocaust and even a bizarre and unsettling tale of a young girl chosen for a very special place in society. Its use of the symbolic is also more apparent. Was it because I saw "Songs" prior to "You" that the former film impressed me more? I'll probably never know until I watch both again, perhaps in quick succession. In any case, because Mr. Andersson has given us a second film that adheres so closely to the constraints of the first, You, the Living does have a certain more-of-the-same quality. When that quality flirts with -- and then utterly seduces -- greatness, we ought not discount it.