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Tomorrow’s Another Day

Posted by martinteller on December 9, 2013

While working on Roy Andersson’s film You, the Living, production manager Johan Carlsson documented the proceedings.  He claims “This film is not a ‘behind the scenes’-film. but an independent documentary.”  Well, okay, but if it looks like a duck, et cetera.  This movie will probably be of little interest to those who aren’t fans of Andersson and his work, but as far as this sort of thing goes, it’s pretty good.  It took nearly 1000 workdays of production and several weeks of editing to bring You, the Living to the screen.  There seem to be three reasons for this.  Firstly, there was difficulty getting funding for the film.  Andersson even went to Germany to look for money because Swedish sources were dragging their heels.  Secondly, the production design is extremely meticulous and ambitious, relying entirely on practical models and effects rather than digital enhancement.  This means that when a scene calls for bombers to descend upon a city, the entire city has to be designed, built and painted in miniature, covering the floor of a whole soundstage.  The dream sequence, in which an apartment is revealed to be travelling along train tracks, is cited by Andersson as both his finest work and his most difficult.  And thirdly, Andersson worked without a script, shaping the film as it went along (and reshaping and re-reshaping in the editing room).  Scenes would be painstakingly hashed out on the spot, often just to be scrapped later.

Throughout all the struggles, however, Andersson maintains a calm and amused demeanor, delighted with the process and the end results.  He is occasionally prone to a mild outburst over a blown take, but for the most part he just seems pleased as punch to be crafting his film, and even tickled by all the snags and obstacles.  There are also a few interview segments where he discusses his filmmaking philosophies or the meaning behind his work.  “This scene and this film is saying: Damn it, you can’t bomb people!”  I’m down with that.  Rating: Good (74)


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