31 March 1943 |
Roy Andersson (born 31 March 1943) is a Swedish film director, best known for his films A Swedish Love Story (1970) and Songs from the Second Floor (2000). More than any other, Songs from the Second Floor succeeded in cementing his personal style – a style characterized by long takes, absurdist comedy, stiff caricaturing of Swedish culture and Felliniesque grotesque. He has spent much of his professional life working on advertisement spots, directing over 400 commercials and two short films, but only directing four feature-length films in three decades. His latest film is A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014).
Later described by the Village Voice as a "slapstick Ingmar Bergman”, Roy Andersson was born in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1943. A year after graduating from the Swedish Film Institute in 1969, he directed his first feature-length film, A Swedish Love Story. The film, awarded four prizes the same year at the 20th Berlin International Film Festival, looked at the nature and nuance of young love and turned out to be a major critical and popular success for Andersson. Following this success, Andersson fell into a depression. As he didn't want to get stuck with the same style and expectations he cancelled what was going to be his next project, with the script half-way finished, and skipped a couple of other ideas for plots he had previously planned to realize. Eventually he directed the film Giliap which was released in 1975. The film was a financial and critical disaster, went wildly over budget, and suffered lengthy delays in post-production. Giliap went in a decidedly different direction than A Swedish Love Story – replacing crowd-pleasing joy and soft humour with dark comedy and unforgiving deadpan. After Giliap, Andersson took a 25-year break from film directing, focusing his efforts mainly on his commercial work.
In 1981 he established Studio 24, an independent film company and studio located in central Stockholm. Later, he directed a short-film commissioned by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare entitled Something Happened. Made in 1987, the short was meant to be played at schools all over Sweden as an educational film about AIDS, but was canceled when it was three-fourths complete because of its overly dark nature and controversial use of sources. The official explanation was that it was "too dark in its message," and it wasn't officially shown until 1993. His next short film, 1991's World of Glory, developed this style even further and was a critical success, winning both the Canal Plus Award and the prestigious Press Prize at the 1992 Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. The film is on a top ten list of all time best short films, set by the Clermont-Ferrand festival.
In March 1996, Andersson began filming Songs from the Second Floor, a film that was completed four years later in May 2000. After its premiere at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival the film also became an international critical success. It won the Jury Prize in Cannes and five Guldbagge Awards in Sweden for best film, direction, cinematography, screenplay and sound. The film was made up of forty-six long tableaux shots, marrying tough, bleak social criticism with his characteristic absurdist dead-pan and surrealism.
Roy Andersson continues his commercial work at Studio 24 and his latest film You, the Living premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival as part of the Un Certain Regard selection. The film won The Nordic Council Film Prize in 2008.
He has expressed his desire to make a new film that could be considered the third part in a trilogy together with his two latest films. The status of the project is unknown, but Andersson has publicly stated that he is planning "a third enormous, deep and fantastic, humorous and tragic, philosophical, Dostoyevsky film." In an interview with Ignatiy Vishnevetsky for The Auteurs' Notebook, Andersson revealed that he would be shooting his next film in High-definition video, possibly using the Red One camera, and that it would represent a departure in style from his previous two films. The film's preliminary title is A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City presented a retrospective of Andersson's work in September 2009.
Awards and honors
- 2000 Stig Dagerman Prize
|Type||Year||Title||Images||Clips (QuickTime required)|
|Short films||1967||Besöka sin son||–||–|
|1968||Den vita sporten (The White Game)||–||–|
|1968||Hämta en cykel||–||–|
|1969||Lördagen den 5.10||–||–|
|1987||Någonting har hänt (Something Happened)||1 2||Film clip 1 Film clip 2|
|1991||Härlig är jorden (World of Glory)||1 23||Film clip 1 Film clip 2|
|Feature films||1970||En kärlekshistoria (A Swedish Love Story)||1 2||Film clip 1 Film clip 2|
|2000||Sånger från andra våningen (Songs from the Second Floor)||1 2 3||Film clip 1 Film clip 2|
|2007||Du levande (You, the Living)||–||Teaser trailer|
|2014||En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence)||–||Production diaries|
|1967–1972||List of commercials|
|1973–1980||List of commercials|
|1981–1990||List of commercials|
|1991–||List of commercials|
|Source: royandersson.com via Internet Archive|
- Interview in Nöjesguiden (in Swedish) Nöjesguiden. Retrieved on 11 February 2009.
- "Festival de Cannes: Songs from the Second Floor". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
- "Roy Andersson interview." Little White Lies. Retrieved on 11 February 2009.
- "Figurative & Abstract: An Interview with Roy Andersson." The Auteurs' Notebook. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
- Documentary film directed by the film collective Grupp 13 consisting of Roy Andersson, Kalle Boman, Lena Ewert, Sven Fahlén, Staffan Hedqvist, Axel Rudorf-Lohmann, Lennart Malmer, Björn Öberg, Jörgen Persson, Ingela Romare, Inge Roos, Rudi Spee, and Bo Widerberg (Roy Anderesson inleder Den vita sporten article on the site of the Swedish Film Institute).
- Interview with Roy Andersson, N by Norwegian
- Interview with Roy Andersson, MUBI
- Studio 24 & Roy Andersson Production – Official site
- Roy Andersson at the Internet Movie Database
- Roy Andersson at the Swedish Film Database
- Retrospective Roy Andersson at the FILMFEST MÜNCHEN