Film

Film

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Swedish absurdist Roy Andersson’s mortifying sensibility, found in almost crystalline form in Songs From the Second Floor (2000), can leave a haunting crease in your memory. A series of tableaux as perspectivally extravagant as they are thoroughly dehumanized, Songs is a masterpiece of brooding orchestration, but it’s only the third feature Andersson’s made in 30 years. He’s been otherwise busy as a director of commercials, which constitute this retro’s first evening—plus two shorts, the first of which, Something Happened (1987), is a large, scary dissertation on AIDS often resembling Arbus portraits come to hesitant life. Similarly, the Kafkaesque World of Glory (1991) begins with one of the most chilling three-minute shots in the history of movies. The second feature, Giliap (1975), is a portentous romance that signals the evolution of Andersson’s point of view, making his first, A Swedish Love Story (1970), a refreshing alternative. Set in the gauziest summer imaginable, it’s one of the era’s great films about adolescence, as two blond teens circle each other despite the adult world self-decimating around them. Andersson’s long takes are gorgeous, and the hope hadn’t yet drained away.