There's a moment in this film...It occurs just after a lengthy joyous dream a young woman has of marrying the guitarist she has recently met in a bar. The dream ends and the joy is brought back to the reality that the woman will not be making this far fetched dream come true. We cut to a woman casually sitting in a bathtub and she begins to sing. And she's singing this song we had heard not 10 minutes previously at a funeral. But now, there's this haunting beauty to it...
And at that moment I almost burst into tears.
I'm not quite sure why actually. Likely it was mostly due to the music (I'm a big fan of Scandinavian folk music believe it or not) which was simply gorgeous. And it wasn't because I was emotionally torn up by any specific event in the film. But after the stark images that director Roy Andersson had supplied us with so far, the nightmares recounted and the dreams dashed, the happiness that seemed so far out of reach of the characters - this simple song seemed to capture everything that these people were missing.
Or maybe I was just really tired.
Whatever the reason, it's one of the most incredible moments I've had viewing a film this year.
Be pleased then, you the living, in your delightfully warmed bed, before Lethe’s ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot.
Through the many half-dead looking characters and short static washed out scenes, that above quote from the beginning of the film seems to say "find enjoyment in life where you can and make the most of it - because time is ticking...". The people in this film are just completely unable to do that. And yet the film is still very funny - much more so than 2000's "Songs From The Second Floor" (though it retains much of that film's style).
Everything about this film - it's deadpan humour, the perfectly composed shots, the music, the strangely sympathetic characters - made me want to stay right in my seat and watch it all over again immediately. But I couldn't. Nor will I be able to attend its second showing at TIFF. So now I'm faced with the likelihood of waiting for a long off DVD release. I want to cry out and let everyone know how unfair this is! I feel I should demand that it be released in theatres across the country!
Or perhaps, I will be pleased at my good luck at having had the privilege to see it in the first place.