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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

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Songs from the Second Floor (2000) on IMDb

Plot Overview

A nattily dressed businessman Pelle Wigert (Torbjörn Fahlström) wearing incongruous blue cloth booties visits his colleague Lennart (Bengt C.W. Carlsson) who's lying in a sun bed with his bare feet sticking out (“It was good of you to come, Pelle.”) Now on this dawn of a new millennium, Lennart tells Pelle, “Every­thing has its day. The pyramids, steam engines, every­thing has its day.” To be certain, the pyramids belong to the ancient past, while the steam engine was once the epitome of the industrial age in the nine­teenth–twentieth century. If in artistic metaphor bare feet are the ground floor—the ancient pyramids—then the second floor, or the socks, would be the industrial age devices, some of them already obsolescent.

At home Pelle vigorously shines his shoes preparing to head off to work, while his naked wife in open robe and bare feet tries to persuade him to stay home with her for the day. He's ready to move on into his day (“There's a time for work; there's a time for every­thing”) and by analogy into the new millennium, while his wife wants to make babies as people have done since the beginning.

At work supervisor Pelle fires an employee of thirty years who drags his feet down the corridor obstreperously demanding not to be let go. The corridor is lined with doors behind which other employees have their own reluctances about leaving the old millennium for the new. The remainder of the movie consists of vignettes of what's behind those metaphorical doors, what's holding us back to the past millennium, what we might be better off letting go of.


The fixed scenes intimate more than what's on the surface if one takes a nomothetic approach. For example a man (Rolando Nunez) with a foreign accent is ignored as he asks for directions until he is stomped on in the street. We perhaps would do well to leave xenophobia in the past.

And endless business meetings, and overly driven businessmen, gridlock commutes, dangerous machinery & tools, no-fault divorce, drunken binges, home­less­ness, and Nazi legacy. Thinking about dishonest business practices might even motivate us to drain the swamp.

birthday partyThe vignette(s) about child sacrifice might seem misplaced for having been part of a more ancient time, but here it is characterized in the abstract: “We have sacrificed the bloom of youth.” There­fore it can relate to abortion that is still practiced. The young girl about to be sacrificed acts as a foil to the explanation given her that it's like a birth­day party: one cannot invite every­one or there won't be enough cake to go around. There just aren't enough resources to allow us to invite every fertilized egg to a birthday.

For the sacrifice scene itself, it's the mother's choice that is germane, with all the rest of society complicit in it. The mother's safety is paramount. This is not done from some regrettable medical emergency but as our way to cull the herd in the former millennium. It is especially pertinent when combined with the race question: “They belonged to the wrong race.” It's perhaps similar to what Teri Woods describes in a novel: (141)

Dr. Vistane performed anywhere from four to eighteen abortions every day at the clinic. The patients were mostly black, as the clinic was located in an all black neighbor­hood. Dr. Vistane was in his mid-forties and had a family of his own at home. Even though abortions were frowned upon, Dr. Vistane felt he was actually saving poor, black souls. Dr. Vistane believed that blacks were the lower class, not just financially, but all the way around the board, and to help rid the world of another black bastard baby was some­thing that needed to be done. Just look at how they live, and the men don't provide, the homes are broken, the children lost, and their neighbor­hoods all crime-ridden. Yes, he was doing great humanitarian work.

The logic seems to unravel when the dead people who would normally be replaced in population by live births start coming back from the dead. Sure, the mother has choice to give birth or not, but did these corpses always have a choice whether or not to die? Likely not. An honest man wanting to reimburse some relatives money owed to the deceased might find the deceased has no relatives if live births were scuppered. The upshot is it has driven a poet into the insane asylum for his inability to find harmony in this society.

And the great religion of the last millennium made Jesus out to be just a “nice guy” and ultimately a “crucified loser.”

The statement made about life in the last millennium was, “It's not easy being human.” But that could be said about earlier millennia as well, (Eccl. 2:22-23) “For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.” In the movie the best for the new millennium was to “eat good food and enjoy life.” That's the same as for the older millennia as well, (Eccl. 2:24) “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”

Production Values

This Swedish drama, “” (2000) was written and directed by Roy Andersson. It was inspired by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. It stars Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson, and Bengt C.W. Carlsson. Andersson chose ordinary people for the parts so they wouldn't think they under­stood the story. The camera was fixed in each sequence and each shot was made in one take, the exception that proves the rule being a moving perspective shot at the train station. The movie is not rated. It had a limited release in the USA.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This was a well-made foreign, artistic film that should appeal to people who go to foreign, artistic films. There's not enough action in it to suit even the most modest tastes. It's not a well known film. Good luck finding it.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: No action, no adventure Suitability for children: Not rated. Special effects: Average special effects Video Occasion: None of the Above Suspense: A few suspenseful moments Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, print.

Woods, Teri. Alibi. New York: Grand Central Pub., 2009. Print.