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While it falls squarely into the precious category of love-it-or-leave-it art-house oddities, the hypnotically absurd Swedish comedy Songs from the Second Floor is certainly unlike any other movie you've ever seen. That alone is reason to check it out, and many pleasures await those who are receptive to director Roy Andersson's conspicuously offbeat worldview, presented here as a series of marginally connected vignettes illustrating a bleak world that has literally ground to a halt. A perpetual traffic jam lurches through an urban landscape imbued with post-apocalyptic atmosphere, a ghost town populated by pale, shell-shocked citizens bereft of hope and teetering on the edge of collective madness. Characters and plot are nonexistent in any conventional sense; it's as if Andersson has cast himself as a detached God, gazing upon these lost souls from a distant remove, as if they were fish in a tank, lumbering through their oppressive city like zombies at the dead-end of civilization. Described by critic J. Hoberman as "slapstick Ingmar Bergman," this highly unusual film is certainly not for everyone, but if you're on its wavelength it's sure to prove unforgettably amusing.

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Special Features Director's commentary Work in progress Behind the scenes Deleted scenes Trailer

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NYFV82504 Songs From the Second Floor DVD (2000/Roy Andersson) $29.95 $26.99