Directed by Roy Andersson, starring Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson, Sten Andersson
It is 25 years since Swedish ad director Roy Andersson's last feature film and after watching 'Songs...' the only question is, why the big rush? Dispensing with such trivialities as a script and shooting schedule, it's a garbled mess of 46 non-event stories, flung together under themes of pre-millennial tension and the pressures of modern living. Andersson made the film over four years and the results are indulgent in the extreme, recalling the cinematic snake oil passed off as deep and meaningful by people in corduroy jackets back in the 1970s. Characters spout endless guff about life and death as an audience edges ever closer to the later while 'plot' strands disappear and then reappear because linearity is a dirty word and maybe the cast could only get time off their day jobs now and again. To make matters worse none of them are remotely likable - showing as much enthusiasm for the roles as a game of pin the tail on the donkey and moping around like they're involved in a battle of wills with the camera operator.
There are some rare moments of absurd humour (usually at the expense of the elderly or mentally ill) but they don't last long before Andersson is on his not so merry way down another blind alley, accompanied by a soundtrack from Abba mastermind Benny Andersson (Benny, shame on you). "It's not easy being human," remarks a character at one point. He's right - not if it means watching this. If this is cinema I pledge allegiance to 'Cagney and Lacey'.