Songs from the Second Floor
(Sånger från andra våningen)

Screening on Film
Directed by Roy Andersson.
With Lars Nordh, Steffan Larsson, Bengt C.W. Carlsson.
Sweden/France, 2000, 35mm, color, 98 min.
Swedish with English subtitles.

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, Songs from the Second Floor is composed of forty-five precisely staged vignettes that present a series of personal tragedies and city-wide crises in the no man’s land of a perpetually overcast, post-industrialized Europe. An outrageous sense of global doom builds as a furniture shop owner burns down his store to collect the insurance money, a traffic jam brings a city to paralysis, a nightclub magician’s trick of sawing a man in half goes dreadfully wrong, and an immigrant is assaulted in full view of a crowd awaiting a bus. Director Roy Andersson, once dubbed “the unknown genius of contemporary cinema,” brings his precise mise-en-scène and surrealist visuals to bear on the underlying absurdity of modern existence with a humor that has been compared to that of Beckett, Kafka, and Keaton. A mordant black comedy turned nightmare, Songs from the Second Floor is a searing meditation on millennial decadence.

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Selected Films of Roy Andersson