You, The Living (Du Levande) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/03/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Offbeat, frequently amusing and surprisingly engaging comedy-drama from the director of Songs From The Second Floor.

What's it all about?
You, the Living stands up perfectly well on its own, but it can also be seen as a lighter-hearted companion piece to Swedish director Roy Andersson's 2000 film, Songs From The Second Floor. It presents a similar series of tragi-comic vignettes from modern life, set against a washed-out background.

The various protagonists (some of whom appear more than once) include: a large, loud, constantly depressed woman and her long-suffering husband; an Arab barber who takes a satisfying revenge on a racist customer; a girl with a crush on a rock musician; and a beleaguered tuba player.

The Good
The publicity for You, the Living says things like, Monty Python meets Ingmar Bergman! and there's a certain amount of truth in that, although you might also argue that there's quite a lot of Python in Bergman anyway and vice versa. At any rate, Andersson concentrates on the tiny details of life, finding tiny moments that are, by turns laugh-out-loud funny, desperately sad and surprisingly moving.

Highlights include: a hilarious sequence where a man describes a dream in which he committed the faux pas of doing the tablecloth trick at a serious social gathering; his subsequent trial (Counselor Akerblom, I would like to inform you that no tears in the world can affect the verdict of this court.); and a beautiful scene in which several members of a brass band practice while a terrific thunderstorm rages outside.

The Great
The pale make-up and the washed-out cinematography make you wonder if these people are in some sort of living hell or just a terminally bored state of limbo, but Andersson offers no clues either way. Indeed, the soundtrack is surprisingly upbeat, consisting of traditional jazz tracks and so on.

Worth seeing?
You, the Living might not be to everyone's taste and is an admittedly tough sell to all but the most dedicated of arthouse aficionados, but it's well worth seeking out nonetheless. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

You, The Living (Du Levande) (15)
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Content updated: 24/10/2017 10:36

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