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Songs From the Second Floor

Songs From the Second Floor (2000)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

91

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 6,276

My Rating

Movie Info

Songs From the Second Floor, which shared the Special Jury Prize at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, is an indescribably surrealistic examination of the pointlessness of modern life in a nameless city full of directionless people. Throughout a series of unrelated vignettes, all marked by absurd black humor, the film's characters stand witness to an utterly motionless traffic jam, the pathetic firing of a 30-year employee, a magic trick gone horribly wrong, and the failed business ventures of a

Mar 23, 2004

New Yorker Films

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All Critics (39) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (4) | DVD (5)

Let your literal, linear self take a chance on Songs From the Second Floor. Andersson is a philosopher with a brilliant eye for composing his ideas on the big screen.

April 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like an Ingmar Bergman movie as realized by Monty Python: It's seriously gloomy about the loss of spirituality in the world, but at the same time rudely, sometimes hilariously, absurd.

April 25, 2003 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You may not enjoy it but you will not forget it.

November 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A brilliant, absurd collection of vignettes that, in their own idiosyncratic way, sum up the strange horror of life in the new millennium.

October 31, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Depressive, slow, darkly funny, unyielding in its formal rigor, and unsettlingly beautiful.

October 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Strange, funny, twisted, brilliant and macabre.

August 30, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

like Bergman approaching Swedish fatalism using Gary Larson's Far Side humor in a script acted by the Monty Python troop

February 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

the everyday apocalypse envisaged in Songs From The Second Floor is a wonder to behold, an idiosyncratic humanist allegory without parallel in cinema - unless, of course, you include Andersson's equally astonishing follow-up You, The Living (2007)

March 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

A unique document of the surreal at work within the confines of the everyday.

July 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

The heavy symbolism overwhelms the storytelling.

April 26, 2004

The Second Coming on a trash heap.

April 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

A strangely amusing film.

March 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

If this is cinema, I pledge allegiance to Cagney and Lacey.

April 16, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

An absurdist spider web.

November 21, 2002
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Parts seem like they were lifted from Terry Gilliam's subconscious, pressed through Kafka's meat grinder and into Buñuel's casings

August 23, 2002 Full Review
Planet Sick-Boy

This is cruel, misanthropic stuff with only weak claims to surrealism and black comedy.

July 27, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A macabre and very stylized Swedish fillm about a modern city where all the religious and civic virtues that hold society in place are in tatters.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

There's really only one good idea in this movie, but the director runs with it and presents it with an unforgettable visual panache.

July 6, 2002 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

A valuable and rare movie experience.

July 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for Songs From the Second Floor

I would have love to have seen this on a big screen. I am sure I missed a lot of detail in Roy Anderson's meticulously crafted tableaux on my 27' Sony.
January 15, 2008
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer


The first impression I had watching "Songs From the Second Floor" was of a collection of life metaphors boxed in a surrealistic shape. A slight discomfort. Later on, some scenes insisted on coming back to mind and they amazed me in their simplicity/originality/reality. Blessed be the one who sits down.

This quote is from the Peruvian poet César Vallejo, whose poem "Stumble Between Two Stars" inspired Roy Andersson´s film. "Vallejo created a wrenching poetic language for Spanish that radically altered the shape of its imagery and the nature of its rhythms. No facile trend setter, Vallejo forged a new discourse in order to express his own visceral compassion for human suffering." Even if it´s not that difficult to be digested, pretty much the same can be said about Andersson´s film that succeeds in portraying Vallejo´s imaginary and our modern and "complicated" human condition.

- How are you?
- What can I say? It's not easy being human.

Life is hard to everyone. But is it really that bad?
After sacrificing "the youth", a man drinks and throw ups, drinks again and throw ups. A woman on the floor can't get back up on her stool. It´s easier to keep drinking than to sit down*. Or in Michael Thomson ´s words in a review to BBC, "all activity is pointless". Pointless such as the perhaps obvious, but still great scene at the airport where several people push overloaded trolleys, piled high with towers of luggage.

There's a time for misery. But it'll soon be over. Only a few more yards and we'll have left this damned dump under the clouds for good.

Obvious or not, we go through life carrying lots of unnecessary things and we´ll still try to take them with us when it comes the time to reach the second floor.


*Of course this is not what the scene means; it is just an analogy I made with "sits down" meaning to stop and think on what causes you pain.


September 16, 2011
5oclockcoffee

Super Reviewer

I loved some of the ideas presented here, but not so much the cold and empty execution. This is no fault of the film. It is just such a bizarre offering that its last concern is the audience. The film focuses on a bizarre city where time seems to have come to a halt. There are traffic jams, and people trying to get somewhere. However, very few seem to know where. One man is scared of the insurance men, after causing a fire, another has trouble with his stomach after an accident at a magic show. It's a film that requires you to sit and study, much like a poem. A lot of it is funny, such as the attention to detail. Seeing a parade of men in the background whipping each other is both unsettling but comical. It may have struck 10 years old, but a lot of the film has to do with accounts, brokers and businessmen. A repeated theme is the cost of business. This is still true, even more so today. Bizarre and interesting, but certainly a challenge.
January 28, 2011
kiriyamakazou

Super Reviewer

A series of carefully woven absurdist and magical realist sketches set in a nameless Scandinavian city at the dawn of the millennium where flagellants parade down the street, no one can explain why there's a traffic jam, and a desperate church endorses pagan sacrifices. Extremely slow paced but rewarding to the patient; the quietly apocalyptic final scene with Kalle standing by the huge mound of discarded crucifixes watching figures on the horizon sticks with you---the image could have come from Bunuel, if he'd conceived it while suffering suicidal depression. Andresson's follow up, YOU, THE LIVING, is basically the same concept, but a bit funnier and more approachable.
January 28, 2011
366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

    1. Stefan: May those who sit down be loved.
    – Submitted by Jamie L (7 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Foreign Titles

  • Songs From the Second Floor (Sånger från andra våningen) (DE)
  • Songs From the Second Floor (Sånger från andra våningen) (UK)
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