BEING A HUMAN PERSON
BEING A HUMAN PERSON
Director: Fred Scott
Runtime: 90 minutes
Cast: Roy Andersson
Synopsis: Set across a three year time period, ‘Being a Human Person’ tracks the ups and downs of Swedish auteur Roy Andersson’s unique, immersive – and at times arduous – method of filmmaking, and examines the true legacy of a master storyteller as he calls time on a career and comes to terms with his own, increasingly fragile mortality.
Being a Human Person is a deeply moving documentary from Grammy-nominated director Fred Scott, which explores the life and work of acclaimed Swedish auteur Roy Andersson [A Swedish Love Story (1970), Songs from the Second Floor (2000), You the Living (2007), A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014)]
Andersson’s latest film – About Endlessness (2019) – will be his last, marking the end of a major chapter in cinema, because films will never again be made like his.
At 77, with the end of his career in sight, the central thematic concerns of Andersson’s work – vulnerability, insecurity and mortality – spill over into his creative process.
His longtime collaborators, Pernilla Sandström and Johan Carlsson, have co-produced the film for Studio 24, Andersson’s personal film studio, which he created in 1981 in a huge, central Stockholm townhouse.
It is a studio in every sense – artistic as well cinematic – where he creates his unique Andersson style. Most of his unmistakable tableau scenes are created in this studio, with amazing model and greenscreen work and trompe l’oeil techniques.
Art is of paramount importance to Andersson, who cites Breughel and Goya as major influences on his work. “Art is defending the human being,” he says.
About Endlessness, which was shown at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, has his trademark haunting imagery and deadpan absurdity. It is another mournful reflection on human existence constructed as a series of eerie vignettes, depicting a topsy turvy world where the insignificant assumes an immense importance whilst something monumental barely registers. In every frame there is a sense of impending doom.
In Scott’s documentary, Andersson remains an enigmatic figure, always smiling but revealing little about himself and his personal life, always speaking in general terms about his art, addressing the frailty and vulnerability of human nature whilst remaining elusive. The documentary touches on the recent crisis about his heavy drinking, at one point showing him furtively swigging from a bottle. His behaviour becomes erratic and he checks into rehab, but quickly checks out and returns to work, with no apparent detriment to his art.
Being a Human Person is both an enjoyable introduction to Andersson’s work and a refreshing reminder of the range of techniques and styles in the art of cinema.
In cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema
Images courtesy of Courtesy of Curzon Artificial Eye