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Songs from the Second Floor [DVD] [2000]

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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  • Songs from the Second Floor [DVD] [2000]
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Product details

  • Actors: Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson, Bengt C.W Carlsson
  • Directors: Roy Andersson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 14 Mar. 2011
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00450AG7I
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,190 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

One evening, a series of strange events with no apparent logic take their course. A clerk is made redundant; an immigrant is violently attacked; a magician makes a disastrous mess of his routine. One person stands out in this collection of characters - it's Karl, and his face is covered in ash. He's just put a match to his furniture store in order to cash in on the insurance. No one gets a wink of sleep that night...

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: DVD
A scathing satire of Swedish society by a great director who worked for twenty years in the advertising industry. Roy Andersson unleashes all his disillusionment with his compatriots, targeting (among other things) Swedish racism, materialism, hypocrisy, alcoholism, mental illness and Sweden's ambiguous relationship with the Nazis during World War II.

Since most of these failings are common to all nations at all times, the film has a universal quality. The Swedish film industry is relatively small, but there are some huge scenes in this film, which will resonate in the viewer's mind for a long time.

The other two films in this trilogy, You the Living [DVD] and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence [DVD] are similarly magnificent, and well worth watching.

Highly recommended.
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Intriguing and/or infuriating in varying amounts, one can't help feel that being Scandinavian and knowing their 'humour', would definitely help, here. But for those who "get" the uniqueness of Roy Andersson really swear by his genius, whilst (possibly) the majority will prefer watching their dinner getting cold.

These vignettes, of exaggerated ordinariness are almost caricatures of contemporary City life and its inhabitants - few words, static cameras that portray life as idiosyncratic snippets, are based on Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo's works. Abandon all pre-existing ideas and notions on what makes a film or what should happen within it, clear the mind and let 'Songs..' take over you.

There is little, or indeed, no point in describing what happens or to whom. It almost doesn't matter. My thoughts (this is my 4th viewing and it seems as fresh as the first) is that it's Alice In Wonderland, except the colour and acid-trip weirdness has been replaced by an adult version, set on cold, blue and empty streets and in boxes of concrete where people sort of live and where almost all colour has been drawn from them and their lives. It's not a comedy in the usual sense, though is often funny purely by being so offbeat.

The comparisons could go on for as long as one's own personal repertoire and viewing/reading history allows - it's inevitable: Jacques Tatti suddenly crops up in my mind.

There's nudity, but not as we usually see it - we expect to be rather offended by people that, shall we say, we wouldn't want, or expect see in films, to be naked, or making love, but actually we see very little and they pass onto the next scene as if there had been nothing so natural, ever!

Whatever you take from Songs From...
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This isnt an easy film to watch , I went to bed feeling rather depressed , monday morning loomed and I could feel the misery of the same old week , the 9 to 5 work until you die or retire and being caught in the endless journeys of the commute and the endlessness in which we all try to do our best . At times Monty Python , then 100 days of sodom . then tender , next impossible to understand . This isnt a film to necessary like but it will stick in your mind for a long long time . Blessed are those who sit down and I would add ; blessed are those middle aged men on the tube wondering why they are doing what they do . A mourning the loss of spiritually and reason to our every day lives.
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Although small by international standards, the Swedish film industry consistently produces films that have a particular quality found nowhere else. This is one of them, and although it took a little time to get into synch. with it, it exerts a strange fascination reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman's films. Particularly noteworthy is the music which was composed by Benny Andersson of ABBA fame, and once heard, his piece 'Song from the Second Floor' is an 'Ohrwurm' which will carry on reverberating around your head for some time afterwards. This film will not appeal to everyone, but it fascinated me.
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This unique and compelling film has multiple resonances. Aki Kaurismaki comes to mind (the same economy of movement & speech). Also Beckett and Kafka, perhaps Bunuel too (The absurd, the surreal, and the uncanny feature strongly in this film). Certainly Edward Hopper. Every frame is lovingly composed. But whereas Hopper and Kaurismaki use saturated colours, Andersson's preferred palette includes mostly washed-out greys and browns. Through references to twentieth century culture and history this film reflects on the question 'How to live in an unredeemed world?'
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Roy Andersson is a genius film maker almost without parallel in my opinion. Songs From The Second Floor is a deeply moving piece of Art, that has lingered with me long after watching it. Without the fantastic humour of "You The Living" this film is melancholy and more than a little bit bleak but never the less it is a must see viewing experience for lovers of intelligent film making.
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Roy Anderson films are an acquired taste and I have even acquired it. They take some looking at and applied concentration however. This is is the first of the trilogy and quite remarkable if one bothers. The other two I believe are rather better. They have a laid back, quirky humour and sadness often that is representative of the human condition. Lots of us humans don't like that sort of thing because it reminds us of how pathetic we are generally. And so we would rather watch some Hollywood bulls*** about how smart we are really. Really?
There is also something also warm and endearing about this pathetic-ness if one is open about it. If not for you then there are plenty of films about aeroplanes crashing into skyscapers and heroic types (which do not actually exist I believe) fighting against impossible odd and getting the pretty bimbo at the end. The end.
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