There's not one, but rather fifty tales told in You, the Living, the latest work by Swedish film and television commercial director Roy Andersson. Told in a series of separate yet flowing vignettes over the course of the film, these stories inhabit a peculiar and droll universe of dry comedy that's the hallmark of the filmmaker. Also titled Du levande, this subtitled film premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Here is the movie's synopsis as provided by Andersson for the Cannes:
You, the Living is about the human being, about her greatness and her miserableness, her joy and sorrow, her self-confidence and anxiety. A being at whom we want to laugh and also cry for. It is simply a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy about us.
Andersson goes into much more detail on his approach to You, the Living in an essay (parts one, two, and three), describing how each sketch contributes to its cumulative message about "the grandeur of living." Each one is presented in a single take, passing through the lives of its characters as they ponder their existence and break into song. The film is a follow-up to his similarly-styled dark comedy Songs from the Second Floor (Snger frn andra vningen), which won the Jury Prize at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.
After its debut last year, You, the Living subsequently garnered honors at various festivals around the world. Its subsequent screenings have included last year's Toronto International Film Festival, the Vancouver International Film Festival, and subsequently won the audience award at the Gothenburg Film Festival in late January.
"If You, the Living were to be made into an off-Broadway production, it'd be called "Existential Crisis, the Musical," writes a reviewer of its screening at last year's Chicago International Film Festival. "And we need more films like that, desperately." Other reviews have been published in Variety, european-films.net, Cineuropa, Tim Brayton, Yaseem Ali, and Marilyn Ferdinand.
The trailer for You, the Living follows.
Various brief clips from You, The Living are also available online for viewing in one form or another. An early four minutes of the film sets the tone with a frustrated woman, a hesitant hound, and the steady beat of a sousaphone. Another, somewhat longer segment dives deeper into the dreamscape, music once again establishing a simultaneously offbeat and pensive mood. There's also a brief clip that highlights a darker side of this wandering tale. Finally, the tone of the You, the Living is underscored by its homemade progeny, which in this case various scenes from the film are used as the imagery in a mash-up music video for "Reckoner" by Radiohead.
More information about You, the Living can be found on its IMDB profile and Wikipedia age. The Wisconsin Film Festival is scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 3 through Sunday, Apr. 6. Tickets go on sale on Saturday, March 8.