Back in 2001 the Swedish short film Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers was released to acclaim, featuring six musicians who used all manner of unusual every day objects to create music with, and it’s a delightful effort which should definitely be sought out if you have any interest in seeing the feature length film that they went on to star in. It’s not essential however, and the film takes things to an all new level and sees them perform in some very unusual locations with some very unusual ideas.
Sick of the saccharine, tedious music that the public is often subjected to Sanna Persson and Magnus (Magnus Börjeson) decide to recruit four more musicians and perform a composition entitled “Music for One City and Six Drummers”, and Sanna warns the group that some of their actions will be illegal. This doesn’t put anyone off though, and soon the first performance takes place in a hospital where they used a selection of medical implements and a patient awaiting surgery to create music with.
Unexpectedly the patient briefly dies and though the group are able to bring him back to life their actions are quickly investigated by the police. It could be suggested that here is where the film has a slight contrivance, as the lead investigator is a tone deaf detective who comes from a very musical family and who has an acclaimed conductor for a brother, and as the film goes on the detective is losing his hearing, unable to hear anything that the group uses as an instrument.
But the manner in which all of this is treated is quite unexpected, and the film is a completely unpredictable one. Much of the humour comes from the deadpan nature of the group as they perform their stunning instrumentals, along with how they use the locations and the objects around them to create music, but the dialogue is often very funny too, with the film having a sharp, dry wit about itself, and the police investigation leads to a lot of amusing scenes.
Best watched going in cold, it’s a tight beast without a slither of flab, it introduces the concept and then runs and runs with it, before ending on a perfect note. The cast are all superb and the fact that they are not professional actors per se is undetectable, and it’s a stylish affair with a stunning soundtrack even when the group are not performing. A remarkably inventive film, this is never less than delightful, and a rare example of a truly unforgettable movie.