You, the Living (Du Levande)

7/11/2019 19:30.
Cert 15

The title is a quotation from Goethe: ‘Be pleased then, you, the living, in your delightfully warmed bed before Lethe’s ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot.’ Swedish director Roy Andersson whose output is of limited frequency, here brings us a film of fifty vignettes of roughly 90 seconds each, which are a dark and sometimes humorous narration on our modern times.

Dir: Roy Andersson, Sweden, 95mins, 2007

Preceded by our AGM starting at 19:30

Programme Notes

Inspired by Goethe’s quotation ‘Be pleased then, you, the living, in your delightfully warmed bed before Lethe’s ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot’, tonight’s film is a meditation on the way man looks at the trivialities and absurdities of life and death. Despite being an acclaimed film-maker for over 30 years, You, The Living is only the fourth of director Roy Andersson’s feature films. He says it has its basis in the old Icelandic proverb “Man is man’s delight”

It is a film in which all the takes are single static shots, with little or no camera movement other than the occasional zoom. In total there are about 50 takes, not really thematic except for a Swedish gloom which permeates everything. New Orleans brass band jazz provides a melancholic background soundtrack. There is a definite beginning and end to the film but, in between, it explores its ideas and themes through multiple viewpoints. While not a feel-good movie, and taking a bit of effort to get into, You. The Living is thoughtful, beguiling, unique and occasionally very funny – ultimately a rewarding treat for the senses.

Acknowledgements: Daniel Hooper, EyeforFilm

You, The Living suggests that we would do well to discover the joy we find in each other that so often goes along with the pain” Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

“A film that exists in that place of being between being asleep and being awake, seeming to make sense at first even though it really doesn’t” Matthew Lucas, Front Row


  • The film’s musicality helped keep the seemingly random vignettes together and enhanced its ‘less is more’ staging, which worked particularly well
  • What an unusual film! I loved the blue/grey colour palette
  • Quirky and funny
  • Quite amusing
  • Very droll – I wonder, was Spike Milligan involved?
  • There were some similarities with the humour of the Coen brothers
  • I enjoyed the jazz!
  • How many takes (were needed) for the tablecloth trick?


A:11, B:6, C:1, D:0, E:0 to give 89% from 86% of those present.