Story and the Plot Outline
The storyline of "You, the Living" consists of a number of parallel episodes that depict the lifestyle of their characters. The characters are mostly ordinary people living in plain apartments and dealing with everyday worries about their families, work and neighbors. They find themselves in absurd and comic situations that are meant to exaggerate their emotions and thus depict them in unnaturally ridiculous and comic manner. The director is constantly pushing the line, mocking even artists (musicians).
I personally would say that camera in the hands of Roy Andersson is a dangerous weapon where the genius director can laugh at any other form of art while staying hidden behind his camera. However, everything in his films is done in such a subtle way, that he leaves the audience no chance of blaming the director for pulling the puppet strings. Everything is done the way it is supposed to be done - plain and clear and smart.
There is a certain tendency in the way characters are depicted: the film starts with a couple of obese ugly rockers arguing in the park and ends up with a young couple getting married. This was probably done to create a certain comparison between different lifestyles and depict opposite levels of human relationship - from everyday "barking," so to say, to communication on higher scales, through love and music.
However, as it was mentioned before, there is a comic way of showing the music the way it is in our lives - guitarist Mikey, playing a solo in the end of the movie is compared to orchestra musicians performing for an orchestra. A really hilarious comparison, I should say.
Different attitude to love, family relationship and death is also depicted here. Considering the comic mood of the film, we can see the marriage of the young couple being compared to the unhappy lover having his flowers stuck in the doorway. But what happens to a family after marriage? It is nothing close to what it is supposed to be: there is a carpet shop salesman and primary school teacher calling each other names, it is a fascist family dinner, it is a parent running his track as if it was an endless hamster wheel, etc...only the marriage between the young couple is the last episode that leaves us full of hope that family can be something more than what Roy Andersson has shown us.
Most of the characters are shown in their simple everyday activities, that altogether show our world as nothing but a "spinning ball of confusion." Even the elderly psychiatrist complains about his job: the poor man says that once he used to try to help the selfish and evil people in any possible way, while now he only prescribes pills.
The film is quite musical, I should say. There is both diegetic and non-diegetic music present, which makes the film really interesting to watch.
As far as visual side of the work is concerned, "Du Levande" is made of picturesque static shots, where every shot is like a photo or a painting: tranquil, smartly staged and well balanced.
Color correction is another Roy Andersson's cinematic trick that deserves to be mentioned here. Just like in his other films, colors in "Du Levande" are plain and muted, which is done for a reason: this is obviously a technique that helps us see the world through the director's eyes: boring and minimalistic.