The brilliant film You, the Living focuses on life, death and the fragile yearnings of mankind. With its unique visual style and narrative rhythm this everyday symphony challenges our preconceived attitudes towards film.
Roy Andersson’s tragic comedy You, the Living had its premiere in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 2007. The film was selected as Sweden’s candidate for an Oscar the same year, won three Guldbagge awards in 2008 (Best Film, Best Director and Best Script), was awarded a silver prize at the Chicago International Film Festival and was later nominated for a European Film Award. Now it has also won the Nordic Film Prize.
You, the Living is the result of seven years of meticulous work in Stockholm, where the most visually aware Swedish director carefully crafted 49 of his 50 living tableaux. Shot with his distinctive monochromatic colour scheme in greys and greens, the characters representing the whole spectrum of life live in an absurd and unsympathetic world where humiliation is tolerated. “You, the Living is about the human being, about our greatness and miserableness, joy, sorrow, self-confidence and anxiety. It is simply a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy about us,” says Andersson about his film. “The characters are very comical and sad at the same time, but life is a tragicomedy,” he says. “You, the Living is a film about the vulnerability of human beings.”
|The Nordic Film Prizewas presented to the two prize winners in conjunction with the Nordic Council’s Session in Helsinki on 28 October. It is worth €46,958.
You, the Living available on DVD.
Influence and award
The director, who confesses to a stronger artistic influence from painting, music or poetry than film, brought to his mind the works of German expressionist painters when making You, the Living. “By using abstraction and dream sequences for the first time, I felt totally free,” says the director who intends to further exploit this feeling in his next project.
The prize has great significance for the winner. “Receiving this prestigious award means a great deal to me. I believe there is every reason to acknowledge the Nordic Council for its endeavours to raise film to a high cultural level,” he says.
“Instead of telling just one story in a conventional linear style, You, the Living is made up of carefully composed sequences from a bizarre world which is simultaneously sad and surrealistically funny. These humorous, tragic tableaux show our best and worst sides, make us laugh and force us to think,” explains the awards jury.
Apart from the honour, the prize is of very practical importance to the director, who will use it as an opportunity to prompt research and writing on his new film where he plans on working with new techniques.
Susan Fourtane – HT
Nordic Council Film – Image