Swedish master Roy Andersson returns with this absurdist, surrealistic and shocking pitch-black comedy
The most distinctive Swedish filmmaker since Ingmar Bergman, Andersson’s new film is the third part of a trilogy that began with Songs from the Second Floor and continued with You, the Living. A series of darkly comic vignettes,the film is organised around two narrative strands. In one, two hapless novelty salesmen wander around town trying to sell their inventory of vampire fangs and rubber masks, all the while bickering like an old married couple; in the other, Charles XII, Sweden’s most bellicose king, reappears in modern times to carry on his series of disastrous defeats.
Though he’s been called a slapstick Bergman and compared to Fellini, Andersson is closest to Luis Bunuel in both his surrealist flourishes and the rage — as well as the genuine empathy and sorrow — that underlies his twisted humour. It is an extremely provocative and very disturbing critique of our times.