You, the Living

You, the Living (Swedish: Du levande) is a 2007 Swedish black comedy-drama film written and directed by Roy Andersson. The film is an exploration of the "grandeur of existence,"[3] centered on the lives of a group of individuals, such as an overweight woman, a disgruntled psychiatrist, a heartbroken groupie, a carpenter, a business consultant, and a school teacher with emotional problems and her rug-selling husband. The basis for the film is an Old Norse proverb, "Man is man's delight," taken from the Poetic Edda poem Hávamál.[4] The title comes from a stanza in Goethe's Roman Elegies, which also appears as a title card in the beginning of the film: "Therefore rejoice, you, the living, in your lovely warm bed, until Lethe's cold wave wets your fleeing foot."[5]

You, the Living
Swedish cinema poster
Directed byRoy Andersson
Written byRoy Andersson
Produced byPernilla Sandström
  • Elisabet Helander
  • Björn Englund
  • Jessika Lundberg
CinematographyGustav Danielsson
Edited byAnna Märta Waern
Music byBenny Andersson
Distributed by
Release dates
  • May 24, 2007 (2007-05-24) (Cannes)
  • September 21, 2007 (2007-09-21) (Sweden)
  • March 28, 2008 (2008-03-28) (UK)
  • July 29, 2009 (2009-07-29) (US)
Running time
95 minutes
  • Sweden
  • France
  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Norway
Budget44 million SEK

The film consists of a fluent succession of fifty short sketches, most with a tragicomic undertone. The cast is mostly non-professional, and alienating techniques are employed such as presenting the characters in grim make-up and having them talk directly to camera. The financing was difficult and the shooting took three years to complete. The film won the Silver Hugo Award for Best Direction at the 2007 Chicago International Film Festival and has received critical acclaim.

It is the second film in a trilogy, preceded by Songs from the Second Floor (2000) and followed by A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014).

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