Roy Andersson creates a visionary, absurdist slant on the real world that's equal parts Charles Addams, Tim Burton and Samuel Beckett. As fanciful as it is grimly real, "You, the Living" is a darkly hilarious satire about the tragicomic absurdities of modern life. Consisting of a series of tightly composed, self-contained enigmatic episodes, the film doesn't tell a single story, but rather takes us on a tour through a very adult, seriously strange fun house. From a lonely tuba player and dutiful carpenter to a rock star bride, Andersson introduces us to a host of neighborhood characters both instantly recognizable and completely original.
Except for Andersson's previous absurdist stew, "Songs from the Second Floor," there's simply nothing else like "You, the Living." It veers from bleak realism to buoyant musical, from existential angst to slapstick comedy — sometimes within the same scene. Shot entirely on a Swedish soundstage, the film has a simultaneously old-fashioned and otherworldly look and feel. Teeming with memorably motley faces and sequences of breathtaking virtuosity, including a honeymoon serenade improbably set within a slowly moving train car, "You, the Living" makes for a bizarrely joyous night at the movies.