Roy Andersson’s “Songs from the Second Floor”: Contemplating the Art of Existence
by Ursula Lindqvist
University of Washington Press’ Nordic Film Classics Series, 2016
Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson’s celebrated and enigmatic film Songs from the Second Floor, his first feature film in twenty-five years, won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000. The “songs” of the film’s title refer to Andersson’s artistic ruminations on the state of mankind from his office on the second floor of Studio 24 in Stockholm. The film presents a series of forty-six tableaux-long, deep-focus shots with a still camera, mostly in studio settings, using older visual tricks such as trompe l’oeil. The tableaux showcase seemingly trivial tragicomic situations designed to provoke thoughts about existential guilt, broken relationships, and the failure of social institutions to treat people as human beings.
Lindqvist draws from interviews with Andersson and his team that provide a behind-the-scenes look at how the film was made and investigates its philosophical and artistic influences, providing a nuanced reading of a film that has both befuddled and entranced its viewers. This first book-length study in English of Andersson’s work considers his aesthetic agenda and the unique methods that have become hallmarks of his filmmaking, as well as his firm belief in film’s revolutionary function as social critique.
URSULA LINDQVIST is assistant professor of Scandinavian studies and film and media studies at Gustavus Adolphus College.
To order a desk copy or review copy, see https://www.washington.edu/uwpress/resources/exam_policy.html
New Dimensions of Diversity in Nordic Culture and Society
Edited by Jenny Björklund and Ursula Lindqvist
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016; ISBN 978-1-4438-8593-5
In the new millennium, categories of identity have become particularly destabilized with the emergence of a new generation of people in the Nordic region who demand more dynamic and fluid identities. New Dimensions of Diversity in Nordic Culture and Society reinvestigates the tired concept of “diversity” to make room for dynamic new realities, as well as the ample new questions to which they give rise.
This volume assumes diversity to be a fundamental feature of Nordic modernity. Given that the Nordic countries consistently rank among the world’s wealthiest, most educated, and most egalitarian, these case studies provide important counter-narratives to prevailing local and global discourses of Nordic-ness. The contributors not only interrogate historical categories of diversity in a Nordic context, including gender, sex, class, ethnicity, and race; they also show how these categories intersect. They examine new forms of, and platforms for, diverse ideas and creative expression, including fluid masculinities, digital cultures, new media, and fashion. They question the terms on which the Nordic region’s indigenous peoples, the Sámi and the Greenlandic Inuit, as well as stateless people such as the Kurds, are brought into Nordic discussions of diversity, citizenship, and agency, and analyze the implications of particular neo-nationalist and patriarchal discourses that have emerged since the turn of the century.
The book draws from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and interdisciplinary fields and includes the complete English translation of Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s famous 2012 open letter to Sweden’s then-Justice Minister Beatrice Ask and an original interview with Khemiri concerning the letter’s impact and legacy. This collection will spark productive and critical conversations among all with an interest in the national and regional cultures, subcultures, and social dynamics that inform modern life in the Nordic region.
To order a review copy, desk copy, or adopt this book as a course text, please contact Anthony Wright at CSP at email@example.com.
A Companion to Nordic Cinema
Edited by Mette Hjort and Ursula Lindqvist
Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016; ISBN: 978-1-118-47525-6
The Wiley-Blackwell Companions to National Cinemas Series
A Companion to Nordic Cinema presents a collection of original essays that explore one of the world’s oldest regional cinemas from its origins to the present day.
- · Offers a comprehensive, transnational and regional account of Nordic cinema from its origins to the present day.
- · Features original contributions from more than two dozen international film scholars based in the Nordic countries, the United States, Canada, Scotland, and Hong Kong.
- · Covers a wide range of topics on the distinctive evolution of Nordic cinema including the silent Golden Age, Nordic film policy models and their influence, audiences and cinephilia, Nordic film training, and indigenous Sámi cinema.
- · Considers Nordic cinema’s engagement with global audiences through coverage of such topics as Dogme 95, the avant-garde filmmaking movement begun by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, and the global marketing and distribution of Nordic horror and Nordic noir.
- · Offers fresh investigations of the work of global auteurs such as Carl Th. Dreyer, Ingmar Bergman, Lars von Trier, Aki Kaurismäki, and Roy Andersson.
- · Includes essays on Danish and Swedish television dramas, Finland’s eco-documentary film production, the emerging tradition of Icelandic cinema, the changing dynamics of Scandinavian porn, and many more.
You can order a desk copy or review copy of this book via the Wiley-Blackwell website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-301906.html