Door 6: Roy Andersson

Photography Courtesy of Archer’s Mark

    That initial success can be a burden is broadly discussed in the arts. One associates that especially with music, where the debut album was a success, artistically and maybe also commercially, and therefore people have expectations and those often limit the artist. That this can also be true for making films, proves the Swedish director Roy Andersson.

    Born in 1943 into a working-class family in Gothenburg, he studied film and graduated in 1969 from the Swedish Film Institute. Inspired by his upbringing and the Italian neorealists like Vittorio De Sica, he made his first feature film A Swedish Love Story in 1970. The film, as the title suggest, looks at teenagers falling in love and was a major success.

    This success lead to difficulties for his sophomore film entitled Giliap, released in 1975, as he wanted to take it artistically into a different direction, but the public expected something different. Andersson himself says, that this nearly made him stop making movies at all, but luckily he focused on advertising instead and filmed over 400 commercials and a few well received short movies.

    Through working more commercially he was able to establish his own studio and found a new visual language again. He went from realism to abstraction, as he puts it. His work was inspired especially by painters like Edward Hopper, Otto Dix, Georg Scholz and later on Brueghel. Stylistically that meant, he only films in the studio and each scene is captured in a wide, extended take from a fixed camera, playing a lot with foreground and background.

    So after 25 year gap, similar to Terrence Malick, he released Songs from the Second Floor in 2000. This kickstarted his Living trilogy, which also includes the films You, The Living (2007) and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014). Last year he released his last film with the name About Endlessness.