Dark filmmaking and films in the same vein of Songs from the Second Floor really do terrify me. A brief look into mortality, life, careers and the stuff that makes up society. Deconstructing such topics is never easy, and there have been films so bad at it that I’ve completely forgotten the names of them, however Songs from the Second Floor gives a marvellous attempt at capturing the inner workings of the Universe, and, on a lesser extent, the flaws of society.
Probably my favourite part of foreign cinema is that I don’t really recognise any of the cast members. In rare cases such as Mads Mikkelsen, but for this movie I recognise not one face. But that makes it so much better – I can judge the film solely on its content and performances, rather than have some minute bias towards Michael Caine showing up for an unecessary cameo. Luckily he doesn’t do that in Songs from the Second Floor, no matter how much I would’ve loved to see it.
Although there are no biased opinions towards the performances, it’s hard to have an opinion on them when they’re so uncontained and wildly different. Some are sporadic, others are filled in completely with just one scene. A genuinely strange mixture to follow, but it works somewhat, however the film does lack some consistensy in that regard.
Some of its criticisms of reality are head on and enjoyable, while others are lacking and miss the larger point it feels it was trying to make. This makes for an interesting mix to say the least, with an almost anthology style approach to the film giving an oddly refreshing take on what could’ve been a standardly obtuse foreign drama about life, death and everything in between.
No, Songs from the Second Floor is part-comedy, part-drama and a dash of everything else as well. For what it lacks in a sense of direction and a feeling of an end, it makes up for in some truly unique visuals and social commentary. A really engrossing time that should appeal to fans of Swedish cinema and auteur drama fans.