Let’s start with the look of Songs from the Second Floor—it’s unusually visual, very rich and detailed.
I felt that film-making generally didn’t reach the level you could find in painting or literature or music. It was for one-time use only, and more and more, the movies were losing their visual power—they were concentrating on the plot only. Especially compared to the 1950s, when I was a student. It was that period when the so-called serious art movie came out, all over the world: we had the East European waves, Kurosawa, Bergman, English realism. That’s why I started wanting to be a film director myself. It wasn’t only the plot that was interesting; it was the touch, the feeling, something visually rich.
The way you use long, single-shot scenes without cuts—and don’t move the camera within them—is particularly unusual these days.
Normally when you see a film with many cuts, it’s to avoid problems, because of lack of money, patience, talent. If you don’t move the camera and don’t cut, you have to enrich the picture in deep focus—that’s what you have. I think a good theoretical writer on film is Andre Bazin—he preferred deep focus. I do too. When you look at the history of paintings, they’re in deep focus all the time, and that makes you very curious, and you become an active spectator.
— Roy Andersson on the style of Songs from the Second Floor