Yesterday afternoon my wife and I visited Cinemateket in Copenhagen to watch “Being a Human Person”, a portrait of Roy Andersson (made by F. Scott, 2020, 90 mins.). We have been fans of the Swedish auteur (here the French word fits perfectly) since his short films came out, especially “World of Glory” (in Danish “Dejlig er Jorden”), a stylistical prologue one can say to the four feature films, scenes that do not necessarily “continue”, scenes of fantastic precision, with locations built up in his studio in Stockholm, Studio 24, the building where Andersson lives and works with his dedicated staff. The film takes the viewer to the studio, there are clips from his films, conversations with the master himself and his colleagues, shot during the time where Andersson is finishing his “About Endlessness” – with many delays due to the director’s health that is heavlly influenced by his alcoholism. He is going to a rehab but leaves after 10 days. Money is running out but the film is finished and he wins (again) the main award in Venice.
It is a very honest film in that respect and you feel priviliged to have been invited inside to see the studio and meet the people. Andersson is as vulnerable as many of his protagonists, he is nervous, he is generous and he keeps coming back to the importance of art, the importance of making films that interprets what it means to be a human being. You can’t help admire and love this man!
I remember that Roy Andersson gave me a book that he published and edited with texts, photos, reproductions of painting. All growing out of his humanistic approach to the world and its inhabitants. The idea was that all school children in Stockholm should be given a copy of it, I don’t know if it ever happened.
The films of Roy Andersson are timeless poetic reflections. You laugh and cry. And are stunned by the artistic creations of every scene, in the film portrait you see how they are set up.