Songs from the Second Floor (Discussion)

This is a Swedish film by Roy Andersson. Instead of a review, I’m going to post some comments that will hopefully start a discussion for those who have seen the film (cough, Penny, cough; Didn’t the approach of the film remind you of Landscape in the Mist?)

Part of the difficulty stems from the way the film is made up of a series of vignettes that are almost like self-contained performance art pieces. That makes interpreting each vignette difficult, not to mention determing the way the scenes relate to each other. As I haven’t really sat down to think about it, I’m going to just write some random thoughts and questions in the hopes of starting a discussion on the film:

  1. The film seemed to be a critique on capitalism: the business people walking in the streets whipping each other because of the poor stock market; the scene with the economists/financial experts in a room trying to make future plans. (I believe they were looking into a crystal ball, too.); the selling of the crucifixes, perhaps making a statement about the way business has corrupted religion; Kalle burning down his own business; the traffic jam and the little comments about cars reminded me of Godard’s Weekend. There were also little commentary on transportation, cars being portrayed in a negative light.
  2. A friend of mine said she wished she knew more about the politics and culture of Sweden as the film seemed to make reference to this. Does anyone know enough about Sweden to see any connections?
  3. The performance art quality also reminded me a lot of the movie Landscape in the Mist. Angelopoulos uses a similar approach in that film.
  4. Certain key characters looked really pasty, almost dead. Was it primarily business people? And is this part of the critique on capitalism, modern business?
  5. What is the meaning of the phrase, “Beloved is the one that sits?” I notice that there were several scenes of people sitting on the bed, in what looked like moments of contemplation. That sort of made me think of the verse “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” but that might be stretch.

    By the way, the “Beloved” lines come from an actual poem by Ceasar Vallejo, if I’m not mistaken

  6. There are other scenes I didn’t get:

    Lasse (the guy who burned down his business) riding in a train station with people singing.

    The end sequence with the pile of crucifixes and the “zombies”

    The sacrifice of the girl

    The magician sawing the man.

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