Newest Reviews
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Matrix, The
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Newest Articles
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
  You, The Living There Must Be A Reason To Go On
Year: 2007
Director: Roy Andersson
Stars: Jessika Lundberg, Elisabeth Helander, Björn Englund, Lief Larsson, Olle Olson, Birgitta Persson, Kemal Sener, Håkan Angser, Rolf Engström, Gunnar Ivarsson, Eric Bäckman, Patrik Anders Edgren, Lennart Eriksson, Pär Fredriksson, Jessica Nilsson
Genre: Comedy, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A man sleeps on a settee in his office, when suddenly he is awoken in fright - he tells us he has had a terrible shock because he was suffering a nightmare that the bombers were on their way. Next a woman sits on a bench in the park complaining loudly because she does not believe anyone understands her, not least her boyfriend who sits beside her, with her pet dog (who doesn't understand her either, so she says), and tries to reason with her. He doesn't get very far, with the woman ordering him away until, as he is about to depart the scene, he mentions that he has a roast in the oven. She says she'll be over later, then.

So begins the second of Swedish writer and director Roy Andersson's trilogy which began with Songs from the Second Floor, although you don't need to have seen that to appreciate this. It's a deadpan, absurdist work that opens with a quote from Goethe which essentially sums up the theme of the short sketches, all of which were filmed in one take, that yes, you may find your life miserable, but be thankful that you can still enjoy yourself should you choose to do so, because there will come a day when that option will not be available to you.

This could have been deeply depressing, but the curious distance that Andersson adopts, not quite ironic, yet not exactly unsympathetic either, means that it can be surprisingly amusing. Not every segment hits the funny bone, but the unifying air of we're all in this together, each with our own troubles, means that you warm to these people. It must be said there's also a slight tone of looking down on the little folks under this microscope of life and entertaining yourself at their reactions, but if the director takes a stance of coldly godlike indulgence towards the characters, it could have been worse and he could have not cared at all.

That the upset woman we see at the start, and who turns up again throughout the film, ends her first appearance by breaking out into song suggests one of the things that make life living, and that is music. Another recurring aspect is a band who play New Orleans jazz, which might drive some others up the wall (or to destroy their ceiling in one case), but suggests that its begone dull care sound is a lot more beneficial than it is actively harmful. All through this we are shown in pitiless detail why life is terrible, why it's not worth persevering with, then something will happen to show in weirdly self-contrarian fashion that you're fooling yourself if you think there's nothing at all worth living for.

For example, some of the shortest sketches show the perils of finding a short queue to the heartbreak of being shunned by the one you love. However, there's always something ridiculous about these sequences, as if to say, well, you've got to laugh, haven't you? Even if it's just at other's misfortunes. We see two dreams, too, one where a man tries to remove a tablecloth from a long table without disturbing the crockery: he fails utterly and is sent to the electric chair (his lawyer cries throughout - there's a lot of crying in this film), and another where a fan of a rock star envisages herself being married to him in a house that moves around like a train. The fact that these dreams could easily fit into the rest of this without being announced as such gives you some measure of how surreal this can get, and also how there's an undercurrent of desperation here, pointing out, cheer up, it might never happ - oh, it has. Music by Benny Andersson of ABBA.

Aka: Du Levande.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2328 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: