You the Living
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Top Customer Reviews
But there are stories, here, too--if the axiom that "character is story" holds true. There is Mia, who considers the withholding of alcohol a form a sadism, and who complains that nobody understands her; she recurs in four vignettes. Similarly, the film checks in occasionally with Anna, a groupie of a musician for "The Black Devils"; she extrapolates a single instance of kindness from the musician into an agony of unrequited love. There are other characters, in agonies of their own.
A psychiatrist addresses the camera: "People demand...to be happy, at the same time they are egocentric, selfish and ungenerous. They are quite simply mean, most of them." Vignette after vignette, that is what we see, the meanness of people. That is what unifies these diverse pieces of film. Whatever kindness we see is superficial.
But there is one other thing: there is the occasional sing-along. That is ordinary life, the film says. A stream of human meanness interrupted from time-to-time by a bit of music. All of this moves with dark humor toward a man-made apocalypse.
In Ancient Greece, Lethe was one of the rivers of Hades, the river of forgetfulness. YOU, THE LIVING opens with a quote from Goethe: "Be pleased then, you living one, in your delightfully warmed bed, before Lethe's ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot." It puts us on notice that the dreariness we are about to witness is all there is: "be pleased".Read more ›
a woman sits on a park bench, railing at her boyfriend to leave her alone, to take the dog with him, existence is too painful, there's no point of it all. when he mentions the roast that his mother may be cooking, she says she may stop by later, and breaks into a sad but upbeat song about the motorcycle she wishes she could afford.
a young woman narrates a dream in a bar. in her dream, she marries the local rockstar; as he plays and she opens wedding presents, their apartment building pulls into the local trainstation, where they are greeted warmly and congratulated by a crowd. the crowd bursts into a cheerful song, and the young groom accompanies them with his crooning electric guitar as the building moves on down the line to unknown destinations.
music, rather than a continuous storyline, is what holds together this delightfully dark and downbeat hilarious existential comedy. a series of moments, minor tragedies, the boring or mundane or obnoxious components of everyday life, the nightmares and dreams, all loosely connected by location and the occasional recurrence of overlapping elements. but there is a rhythm. tension builds and subsides. one story plays against another. a sound in one scene provides the clue to the next. when someone tells a story, all turn to look, all move in unison. a kind of dance. a symphony of human misery that happens also to be quite funny.
for those stuck on the lack of a story, think of this like an album, whose continuity is in rhythms and harmonies and atmosphere rather than a conventional narrative arc. check it out if you like inventive cinema; this looks great, a muted tone beauty, is thoughtful and inventive throughout, and unpredictably funny. nearly as good as it gets.
A surreal series of thematically vaguely connected vignettes, almost all shot in beautifully composed single long take.
Some are howlingly funny, a few quite heartbreaking. A few are less interesting. And while there's no obvious story,
like a Laurie Anderson concert it all adds up to a bigger whole; a satire of the modern world, it's disconnection, desperation
Andersson's use of washed out color to create a disconcerting visual tone is unlike anybody else's.
While his terrific 'Songs From the Second Floor' got a little more attention, I found this a tad more cohesive, funny,
sad, and visually amazing.
And now for something completely different ...
Is this a disc that needs to be owned, or will renting it be sufficient? The quality of the picture is not the best viewed close up, losing some of the crispness of the director's details, while the soundtrack makes no special demands on the Dolby 5.1. Extras include a full-length commentary by the director, which I've chosen not to listen to after hearing his commentary for Songs from the Second Floor, a director interview, two "making of" features, and a selection of clips from the director's previous four movies. In all these are approximately an hour. If you've seen Songs from the Second Floor, these extras are almost a formulaic repetition as for that film. So in brief, if you like to show off Andersson films to friends, you might want to own this, or, you might be like me, and just rent it again. Now the movie itself.
Roy Andersson has made most of his career in TV commercials--often quirky ones--and that approach is his style here, writ large. Everything you see was filmed on a sound stage and was built from scratch. Everything is meticulously placed, and almost nothing ever goes to waste visually.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an offbeat Swedish film. I watched it once and will need to watch it again to fully take in what was in the film. Read morePublished on January 19, 2014 by Mark Fritch
I purchased several copies of the film"You the Living" to share with friends. It explored the frailties of our fears and the wonders of our aspirations and dreamsPublished on January 21, 2013 by Robert
I enjoyed You, the Living(Du levande), 2007, 90-minute long collection of 50 short vignettes so much that I've re-watched the whole movie as soon as I finished it and I keep coming... Read morePublished on June 18, 2011 by Galina
You The Living is an enjoyable, highly intelligent surrealist piece. Each frame is uniquely created by the master, Roy Andersson. Read morePublished on April 13, 2011 by Healthy Soul
I would rather floss my cat's teeth then watch this film again!
Pre-fixed by Goethe's memento mori to the living dead,we get the underlying philosophy that runs through the series of humerous,satirical vignettes. Read morePublished on May 26, 2010 by technoguy
OK, I was suckered in by an Amazon Suggest, along with the rapturous praises of several users here. But learn from my mistake and you need not be. Read morePublished on March 7, 2010 by Mitchell S. Gould
If you love your cinema a bit different, edgy, odd, sparse, and pushing the envelope on what would be considered a film; You The Living is a perfect film. Read morePublished on February 28, 2010 by Dan Lebryk