Friday, 9 July 2010
Roy Andersson - World Of Glory (Härlig är jorden)
When I started this blog I had grand plans to post loads of short films, but for some reason I never seem to get around to it. Here is a remarkable and brilliant short by Swedish director Roy Andersson, from 1991.
It is a series of still-camera vignettes, based around the wan, distant and tormented figure you can see in the stills above. This character speaks directly to camera, and the combination of his measured voice (I find the Swedish language inexplicably lovely); the washed out colours and the ghostly and brilliant music to be totally mesmerizing. I don't really have the mental energy to go attempt an explanation of the themes and meaning within: it deals with guilt, with ones engagement with the world: basically life, the universe and everything - yet in a series of often painful, sad, short scenes that are laced with pitch black humour, but which deal with the minutiae of everyday life. However, there is a horrific opening scene that obviously calls to mind the dominant historical happening of the 20th century, one that is possibly more prescient to a Swede. It also defies a perfect reading, so that's my excuse - you have to interpret it yourself. Not only that, but it is as much about an emotional reaction as an intellectual one.
I am a huge fan of Samuel Beckett, and to me this film dovetails nicely with his latter novels and short prose - the way that the narrating character breaks down the relationship with the reader/watcher and author; with the characters inhabiting the grey area in between. Literally grey, too, calling to mind the foetal characters inhabiting the wastelands in Beckett's short prose. But it's the dark humour that mostly connects the two. And if you're a Beckett fan, the same desolate beauty.
This is a .avi, with a .srt subtitle file, whatever that means for mac users, as I'm a pc man.