Posted March 28, 2012 by Becky Ohlsen
Directed by Ola Simonsson, Johannes Stjärne Nilsson; starring Bengt Nilsson, Sanna Persson
Now showing at Living Room Theaters
I haven’t seen any local reviews of this movie, but I can’t say I’m entirely surprised. It’s a Swedish art comedy (already a troubling prospect) about a frumpy policeman named Amadeus Warnebring (Bengt Nilsson, essentially the Swedish Jason Statham, but moodier) whose great tragedy is that he grew up tone-deaf in a family of famous musicians. This has left him permanently grumpy and unable to tolerate music of any kind. He’s investigating a mysterious gang of renegade drummers who stage musical happenings in odd locations around the city, leaving in their wake nothing but chaos and an ominously ticking metronome.
As our hero eventually discovers, their leader, a charismatic blonde woman (Sanna Persson), was kicked out of the lofty academy of music for staging projects so ambitious they were basically indistinguishable from mischief. (Her thesis performances, a “water concert,” involved the school auditorium’s sprinkler system and a candle.) Now Sanna and company are performing their masterpiece, “Music for One City and Six Drummers.” Each song or movement involves sneaking into a space and using the ordinary objects that happen to be lying around — everything from coins and paper shredders to bulldozers, and even an unlucky patient in a hospital bed.
If all that sounds a little strange, well, the movie is a little strange. But it’s also oddly touching, not least because of Warnebring’s poignant mission — it turns out that catching the guerrilla musicians is not in fact his main objective. Probably best not to give too much away here, but I will say that the movie surprised me all the way through, in a good way. It’s a little goofy, sure, but I recommend it for anyone with an appreciation for the hard-to-categorize.
The drummers in the film, by the way, aren’t just acting; they’re all cast as themselves, and they’ve apparently been doing these performances for years in real life. This movie started as a short film called “Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers”: