You, the Living flips through 50-some single-panel vignettes, many very funny, arranged by Roy Andersson, a Swedish director best known for his commercial work and 2000's Songs From the Second Floor. An (almost always) stationary camera captures a procession of lugubrious Stockholmians; the caption to most of the stills could be "I can't go on." Connections between scenes are loose, if any. A heaplike 50-ish biker gal replays teen-angst classics ("Nobody understands me!") for her boyfriend in a public park. A man hunched over a walker obliviously drags his pet terrier behind him, tangled in its leash. A prematurely embalmed-looking fellow complains about his pension plans while his stout Brünnhilde of a wife mounts him. Andersson delights particularly in left-outs: the guy who can't squeeze into the bus stop during a downpour, the natty little suitor getting his bouquet smashed in a slamming door. The sum total is the reflection of a worldview—sad-sack, bordering on "Everybody Hurts" black-velvet sad-clown bathos—rather than of any narrative. The title comes from Goethe's Roman Elegies, an admonition to appreciate one's measure of life "before Lethe's ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot." This I take to be one of Andersson's dry jokes, as his anhedonic characters already seem settled in Hades—a streetcar even lists Lethe as its destination. NICK PINKERTON
Another wanderer in Andersson's lonely world.
Runs at SIFF Cinema, Fri., Sept. 11–Thurs., Sept. 17. Not rated. 95 minutes.