Roy Andersson

Roy Arne Lennart Andersson (born 31 March 1943) is a Swedish film director, best known for A Swedish Love Story (1970) and his "Living trilogy," which includes Songs from the Second Floor (2000), You, the Living (2007) and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014). Songs from the Second Floor, more than any other, cemented and exemplified his personal style – which is characterized by long takes, absurdist comedy, stiff caricaturing of Swedish culture and Felliniesque grotesque. He has spent much of his professional life working on advertisement spots, directing over 400 commercials and two short films; directing six feature-length films in six decades. His 2014 film A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence won the Golden Lion award at 71st Venice International Film Festival, making Andersson the only Swedish director and the second Nordic director to win the award in the history of the festival, after Danish Carl Theodor Dreyer won in 1955.[1] Andersson is considered one of the most important living European film directors, having four films officially submitted for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film as Swedish entries.

Roy Andersson
Roy Andersson in Aug 2014-3.jpg
Roy Andersson in 2014.
Roy Arne Lennart Andersson

(1943-03-31) 31 March 1943 (age 77)
OccupationFilm director
Years active1967–present

Life and careerEdit

Early yearsEdit

Andersson was born in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1943. A year after graduating from the Swedish Film Institute in 1969, he directed his first feature-length film, A Swedish Love Story. The film, awarded four prizes the same year at the 20th Berlin International Film Festival, looked at the nature and nuance of young love and turned out to be a major critical and popular success for Andersson. Following this success, Andersson fell into a depression. As he didn't want to get stuck with the same style and expectations he cancelled what was going to be his next project, with the script half-way finished, and skipped a couple of other ideas for plots he had previously planned to realize.[2] Eventually he directed the film Giliap which was released in 1975. The film was a financial and critical disaster, went wildly over budget, and suffered lengthy delays in post-production. Giliap went in a decidedly different direction from A Swedish Love Story – replacing crowd-pleasing joy and soft humour with dark comedy and unforgiving deadpan. After Giliap, Andersson took a 25-year break from film directing, focusing his efforts mainly on his commercial work.

Later yearsEdit

In 1981 he established Studio 24, an independent film company and studio located in central Stockholm. Later, he directed a short-film commissioned by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare entitled Something Happened. Made in 1987, the short was meant to be played at schools all over Sweden as an educational film about AIDS, but was canceled when it was three-fourths complete because of its overly dark nature and controversial use of sources. The official explanation was that it was "too dark in its message," and it wasn't officially shown until 1993. His next short film, 1991's World of Glory, developed this style even further and was a critical success, winning both the Canal Plus Award and the prestigious Press Prize at the 1992 Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. The film is on a top ten list of all-time best short films, set by the Clermont-Ferrand festival.

In March 1996, Andersson began filming Songs from the Second Floor, a film that was completed four years later in May 2000. After its premiere at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival the film also became an international critical success. It won the Jury Prize in Cannes[3] and five Guldbagge Awards in Sweden for best film, direction, cinematography, screenplay and sound. The film was made up of forty-six long tableaux shots, marrying tough, bleak social criticism with his characteristic absurdist dead-pan and surrealism.

Roy Andersson continued his commercial work at Studio 24 and his next film You, the Living premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival as part of the Un Certain Regard selection. The film won the Nordic Council Film Prize in 2008.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City presented a retrospective of Andersson's work in September 2009.

Andersson participated in the 2012 Sight & Sound directors' poll, where he listed his ten favorite films as follows: Amarcord, Andrei Rublev, Ashes and Diamonds, Barry Lyndon, The Battle of Algiers, Bicycle Thieves, Hiroshima mon amour, Intolerance, Rashomon, and Viridiana.[4]

He expressed his desire to make a new film that could be considered the third part in a trilogy together with his two latest films, and publicly stated that he was planning "a third enormous, deep and fantastic, humorous and tragic, philosophical, Dostoyevsky film."[5] In an interview with Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Andersson revealed that he would be shooting his next film in high-definition video, possibly using the Red One camera, and that it would represent a departure in style from his previous two films.[6] The film, titled A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence[7] was released in 2014 and won the Golden Lion for Best Film in competition at the 71st Venice Film Festival.

The Museum of Arts and Design in New York City presented a retrospective of Andersson's work entitled It's Hard to Be Human: The Cinema of Roy Andersson in 2015.[8][9]

Awards and honorsEdit


Type Year Title Images Clips (QuickTime required)
Short films 1967 Besöka sin son
1968 Den vita sporten (The White Game)[11]
1968 Hämta en cykel
1969 Lördagen den 5.10
1987 Någonting har hänt (Something Happened) 1 2 Film clip 1[permanent dead link] Film clip 2[permanent dead link]
1991 Härlig är jorden (World of Glory) 1 23 Film clip 1[permanent dead link] Film clip 2[permanent dead link]
Feature films 1970 En kärlekshistoria (A Swedish Love Story) 1 2 Film clip 1[permanent dead link] Film clip 2[permanent dead link]
1975 Giliap 1 2
2000 Sånger från andra våningen (Songs from the Second Floor) 1 2 3 Film clip 1[permanent dead link] Film clip 2[permanent dead link]
2007 Du levande (You, the Living) Teaser trailer
2014 En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence) Production diaries
2019 Om det oändliga (About Endlessness)
Years List
1967–1972 "List of commercials". Archived from the original on March 14, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2005.
1973–1980 "List of commercials". Archived from the original on April 19, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2005.
1981–1990 "List of commercials". Archived from the original on March 14, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2005.
1991– "List of commercials". Archived from the original on March 14, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2005.
IMDb link


  • Lyckad nedfrysning av herr Moro (1992)
  • Vår tids rädsla för allvar (1995)
  • Fotografier 1960-2003 (2012)


  1. ^ "Roy Andersson film scoops Venice Golden Lion award". BBC News. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  2. ^ Interview in Nöjesguiden Archived 2012-07-18 at (in Swedish) Nöjesguiden. Retrieved on 11 February 2009.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Songs from the Second Floor". Retrieved 2009-10-13.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Roy Andersson interview Archived 2011-08-09 at the Wayback Machine." Little White Lies. Retrieved on 11 February 2009.
  6. ^ "Figurative & Abstract: An Interview with Roy Andersson." The Auteurs' Notebook. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "It's Hard to Be Human: The Cinema of Roy Andersson". Museum of Arts and Design. Museum of Arts and Design. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  9. ^ Rapold, Nicolas. "Roy Andersson's Movies at the Museum of Arts and Design". New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  10. ^ "The OIFF will award the Swedish director Roy Andersson a Lifetime Achievement Golden Duke and will show his mini-retrospective at the 11th edition of the festival | News". Retrieved 2020-10-01.
  11. ^ Documentary film directed by the film collective Grupp 13 consisting of Roy Andersson, Kalle Boman, Lena Ewert, Sven Fahlén, Staffan Hedqvist, Axel Rudorf-Lohmann, Lennart Malmer, Björn Öberg, Jörgen Persson, Ingela Romare, Inge Roos, Rudi Spee, and Bo Widerberg (Roy Anderesson inleder Den vita sporten article on the site of the Swedish Film Institute).

External linksEdit