Andersson’s static tableaux

The heroes of Roy Andersson are those struggling to find happiness or even to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures, objects of abuse looking for a little tenderness. The Swedish filmmaker, who gave us «Songs from the Second Floor» in 2000, is back with «You, The Living,» currently showing at theaters, in which he presents a series of static tableaux of ordinary people enduring the consequences of an unbearable life. Andersson, who also works as a successful advertising director, tells us a few words about his new film, which he describes as a «tragic comedy» or a «comic tragedy.» It took you over 20 years to produce «Songs from the Second Floor» and «just» seven for «You, the Living.» Are you planning to continue at this faster pace? The 20-year gap had to do with the policies adopted by production companies because the film I did before that was a huge flop. I had to set up my own company, which focused on advertising, and that all took a while. A film takes about four years to be made – with me at least. I don’t have any plans for another one at the time being. Is there any hope for your heroes, who have to face such difficult circumstances by and large? For all the misery we see, I hope that you can also make out that there are warm and vulnerable people too. We must create a better world for them and for us. And this is something that brings hope – feeling that we have to change things, the conditions of our lives. «You, the Living» seems like a sequel to «Songs From the Second Floor.» What is it about these subjects that interests you so much? When, after many years of searching, you finally find a style that suits you, why change it if you haven’t found something better? Van Gogh painted as Van Gogh all the time. What is the importance of the static tableaux that are so characteristic of your films? In painting, it is not the portraits that interest me. Paintings with scenes, in which one can see what is going on, are far more interesting to me because we learn so much more. Space defines human existence. With a static tableau you give people the time to discover the space and to think about it. I do not edit and I do not move the camera unless it’s absolutely necessary.