Friday, 1 July 2011

Film find: Roy Andersson's debut

Artificial Eye seems to have slipped out a DVD release for Roy Andersson's debut feature film from 1970 but it's well worth picking up, for fans of the quirky Swedish director and non-initiates alike. A Swedish Love Story (pictured) is an ostensibly simple first romance, with strains of adult disappointment, and class and culture clashes. Five years later, Andersson's second, Giliap, was less successful and he didn't make another full-length movie for 25 years.

Andersson aficionados will be looking for deadpan elements familiar from his second coming - Songs from the Second Floor (2000) and You, the Living (2007), funded by his ad work - for instance, a sketch involving the installation of a pair of saloon-style swing doors. A Swedish Love Story is notable, too, for its sound design, from the very opening scenes, involving a motorbike on the open road, and a family gathering interrupted by a barking dog and insistent recorder practice.

Some viewers may be surprised by the great performances Andersson elicits, notably from his young cast. Inspired by the Czech New Wave, Andersson's own influence can most recently be seen in such films as Ruben Östlund's Involuntary and O'Horten by Bent Hamer, and here the debt Lucas Moodysson owes is obvious. The top image also reminds me of the Dardennes' L'enfant (below):

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