Roy Andersson’s signature style of filmmaking is cemented in the first of a loose trilogy of films whose unique perspective encompasses the hubris of existence.
Anyone familiar with the Swedish TV commercials he produced between the late-1960s and 1990s will recognise elements of the style Andersson fully embraced in this, his third film. There isn’t so much a straightforward linear narrative as a collection of thematic concerns that link the series of extraordinarily constructed and choreographed sketches that make up Songs From the Second Floor. And if the themes are weighty (an exploration of existence, the pointlessness of daily life etc), the way Andersson delivers them isn’t. There is wit and dryly comic humour in every scene – as well as the occasional laugh-out-loud moment. Andersson’s skill lies in applying a scalpel to our lofty aspirations, revealing the mundanity of everyday existence, no matter the importance of his characters’ functions in modern society’s seemingly well-oiled machine.