Movies You Should See -- Songs from the Second Floor

Songs from the Second Floor - dir. Roy Andersson, 2000 (Sweden)

I didn't see this movie until about two years ago, but I'm glad it made its way into my Netflix queue. Based on the poetry of Cesar Vallejo, Andersson's film beautifully and precisely translates the language of poetry to the screen. Like Greenaway and Jarman, Andersson constructs tableaus to tackle the heady ideas of Vallejo. The static camera serves the material well. What is the film about, though?
Well, that's harder to pin down. "Blessed is he who sits down," is repeated throughout the film and the stillness implied by resting permeates nearly every scene. Annoyance at the trappings of modernity and the individual's sacrifice to them also plays a huge role. Of course, the military, religion and the creative process are addressed, as well. These are all ideas that good poets effortlessly reference, but until this film, filmmakers have never been able to capture. In one scene, a man clings to his boss' ankle as his boss drags him across the floor. In another, a salesman is throwing away crucifixes and talking about how he invested his life savings in a loser. The scene below borders the absurd, but absurdity follows no logic and holds no truth. This scene, in its dark (almost pitch) humor illuminates and condemns ritual. Its funny and surreal and, in its own peculiar way, poignant and moving.
Definitely make it a point to see this film. Its images will stay with you long after the movie ends.

Goes well with -
L'age D'or
Un Chien Andalou
Swedish Fish

1 comment:

roymeo said...

The best simple explanation of what's going on in the movie I've heard was a succinct "What if the world ended and no one noticed?"