Du levande (2007)
With his ostensibly prosaic visual style and remarkable ability to shoot everyday occurrences with exceptional timing and deft camera use, Roy Andersson continues the thematic thread from his successful Sånger från andra våningen in this alternately delightful and disappointing film. During the thoroughly enjoyable first half, Du levande is a testament to all things good about Andersson's art: His eye for good and simple comedy, his ability to pin down the archetypical in every mundane being, and his neat, off-hand cutting and scene mixing. He owes a lot to the classic minimalistic Scandinavian approach as fronted by Bergman, Dreyer and Kaurismäki, but also in large to Cleese et al. In Du levande you will more than once find clear references to gags by the Monty Python party.
Unfortunately, as the comedy dries up and Andersson needs to incorporate his many archetypes into characters who are to form some sort of narrative or thematic unity, he can't quite keep up with himself. It is hard to maintain the momentum in a film as unnarrative as Du levande when the red line isn't beguiling enough. Towards the end, it is the musical numbers and the atmospheric shifts that keeps the film afloat. As an artistic whole, however, Andersson hasn't got quite enough to say here.