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    Du levande AKA You, the Living

    Du levande AKA You, the Living

    Is Sweden already dead? “Jo” would Roy Andersson shout out loud and no Swedish would hear him.

    Sweden has a fetishistic relation with the Royal House. A fake fanfare, a tailcoats lackey feast, where "noble men" sing standing on the chairs. Sweden has love-hate relation with the socialist model, at least with gray concrete, ten storey mass block of flats and gin junkies addicted to social security. Sweden has hate-hate relation with sex, rock music and the defense industry. And a love-love-love relation with spirituous fluids.

    They did not yet get over the discovery that the IKEA-boss was an enthusiastic collaborator, and quite a couple of them still watch most happily the old Leni Riefenstahl reels, for the wrong reasons.

    All these themes come back in Andersson’s new movie.

    His characters are all losers, like in Todd Solondz (see Happiness). But the difference with other dramas, where losers get entangled in their own fate, like in the Greek tragedy, (and for an example see Anton Corbain’s Control) Solondz and Andersson jerk off the whole humanity from it’s marble pedestal. With sledgehammer blows. The humanity is nothing more than Universe’s sewer.

    It is an answer to the proposition that material prosperity would make everybody happy. It should be mentioned that Sweden currently has one of the world's lowest poverty levels, (6% according to the United Nation's Human Development Report, and is among the top five most egalitarian countries in regard to income distribution.) But the Swedish are far from happy and the movie shrink illustrates this shouting that he has had enough of making everybody happy and just stuffs them with prozac.

    No wonder that Andersson shows us in the last scene a formicary of B52 bombers, just coming to clean up this Swedish dream. And the Swedish watch this numbly.

    A commentator on IMDB says that the last scene might be inspired by John Betjeman's “Slough”

    by John Betjeman (1906 - 1984)
    Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
    It isn't fit for humans now,
    There isn't grass to graze a cow.
    Swarm over, Death!

    Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
    Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
    Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
    Tinned minds, tinned breath.

    Mess up the mess they call a town-
    A house for ninety-seven down
    And once a week a half a crown
    For twenty years.

    And get that man with double chin
    Who'll always cheat and always win,
    Who washes his repulsive skin
    In women's tears:

    And smash his desk of polished oak
    And smash his hands so used to stroke
    And stop his boring dirty joke
    And make him yell.

    But spare the bald young clerks who add
    The profits of the stinking cad;
    It's not their fault that they are mad,
    They've tasted Hell.

    It's not their fault they do not know
    The birdsong from the radio,
    It's not their fault they often go
    To Maidenhead

    And talk of sport and makes of cars
    In various bogus-Tudor bars
    And daren't look up and see the stars
    But belch instead.

    In labour-saving homes, with care
    Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
    And dry it in synthetic air
    And paint their nails.

    Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
    To get it ready for the plough.
    The cabbages are coming now;
    The earth exhales.


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