Roy Andersson

"One of the most distinctive film directors working today, a master of long-take, left-field comedy, a humane advocate of the virtues of the absurd. Village Voice branded him the 'slapstick Bergman'; his singular mix of bleak and bawdy has won him fans who, despite decades between movies, stay loyal." - Jonna Dagliden (The Guardian)

Roy Andersson

Director / Screenwriter / Editor
(1943- ) Born March 31, Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden
21st Century's Top 100 Directors

Key Production Countries: Sweden, Germany, France, Norway
Key Genres: Comedy Drama, Surrealist Film, Black Comedy, Ensemble Film, Abstract Film, Drama
Key Collaborators: István Borbás (Cinematographer), Pernilla Sandström (Producer), Kalle Boman (Editor), Klas-Gösta Olsson (Leading Character Actor), Björn Isfält (Composer)

"Andersson started in films as a cameraman and assistant director, notably for Bo Widerberg. His first major feature was A Swedish Love Story (1970), a gentle evocation of teenage summer love which was an instant critical and popular success. Not so the follow-up, Giliap (1975), the desultory story of an eponymous drifter, set in a claustrophobic hotel, which (though it had been long in the making) failed to live up to its director's grand artistic designs. Since 1976 Andersson has been best known as Sweden's leading director of commercials, picking ups several awards." - Lars-Gustaf Andersson and Bo Florin (Encyclopedia of European Cinema, 1995)
"When Roy Andersson's Songs from the Second Floor made a big splash at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000, many assumed it was his first film, as it sported the fresh, dewy inventiveness that often graces a debut. It was, in fact, his third. But his first two films had been made over 25 years before… Songs from the Second Floor, which was partially self-financed, took four years to film. In interviews Andersson explained that he had been planning the film for over a decade." - Leslie Felperin (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"Andersson, a Swedish director with a style totally unlike anyone else’s, has the mind of a museum curator. Each of his shots— static, meticulously arranged, with both foreground and background space usually in sharp focus—operates like its own exhibit, inviting eyes to wander from corner to corner. Furthermore, the filmmaker gazes upon his human subjects with an almost anthropologic curiosity, as though they were specimens on display. At best, an Andersson shot is striking enough to be placed in a wooden frame and hung in a gallery. At worst, it’s still instantly recognizable as the singular work of the man who painstakingly composed it." - A.A. Dowd (A.V. Club. 2015)
"Swedish writer-director Roy Andersson explores human behavior and its consequences. His Living Trilogy of films, begun in 2000, takes stock of what it means to be a human being. What is human existence? In each Living Trilogy installment, brief but complete scenes pose questions about awareness, responsibility, and the weight of history in contemporary life. Even Andersson’s most farfetched images, often addressing the exploitative legacies of fascism, Nazism, and ethnic cleansing shared by all in the West, are disturbingly familiar. Over the span of fifteen years, each succeeding film was made in a largely consistent style that strives to close the paradoxical gap between dream and reality. Despite his dense material, Andersson’s touch is light, the occasionally farcical tone sympathetically mordant. Sharply lampooning society’s rules, expectations, and institutions, Andersson reserves his benevolence for flops and lost causes." - Megan Ratner (Film Quarterly, 2015)
"I I used to dismiss the films of Roy Andersson for their coldness and repetition; a mistake. While the Swedish filmmaker’s camera hangs at an ever-stiffer remove, each scene he shoots is suffused with minute power dynamics, rendering the players — aimlessly shuffling to and fro, outfitted in sepulchral pancake makeup — both tragically pathetic and pathetically hilarious." - Steve Macfarlane (Filmmaker, 2015)
TSPDT Guide
Recommended
A Swedish Love Story (1970), You, the Living (2007)
Worth a Look
Something Happened (1987), Songs from the Second Floor (2000) , A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014)
Approach with Caution
Giliap (1975)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
Roy Andersson / Favourite Films
Amarcord (1973) Federico Fellini, Andrei Rublev (1966) Andrei Tarkovsky, Ashes and Diamonds (1958) Andrzej Wajda, Barry Lyndon (1975) Stanley Kubrick, The Battle of Algiers (1965) Gillo Pontecorvo, Bicycle Thieves (1948) Vittorio De Sica, Hiroshima mon amour (1959) Alain Resnais, Intolerance (1916) D.W. Griffith, Rashomon (1950) Akira Kurosawa, Viridiana (1961) Luis Buñuel.
Source: Sight & Sound (2012)
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    A Swedish Love Story
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