A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
The third and final instalment of Roy Andersson’s trilogy exploring what it means to be human, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, is quirky, funny and surreal, but intentionally – and perhaps unfortunately – it moves along at a snail’s pace. Centring around two travelling salesmen who sell novelty items, the Swedish film jumps from scene to scene, showing mundane and bizarre interactions that are rich with black humour.
The eerily still camerawork and the fact that each scene is shot in one take makes this a unique, interesting and strange piece of cinema. The feature focuses on the elderly generation, and the frailty of the aged is reflected in the quiet and sluggish way in which the story unfolds. The script often repeats itself, which again invokes the habit of reiteration and repetition that the elderly have a reputation for.
Although it’s slow, there’s a lot of humour in this picture, and the subtlety and sharp observation of the oddness of everyday life is a joy to behold. The lead actors’ performances are to be commended in their ability to purvey the mundanity, melancholy and comedy of everyday existence. Holger Andersson and Nils Westblom are note-perfect as hapless but complex salesmen Jonathan and Sam, and certain scenes are Monty Python-esque in their surreality.
With bold direction and a brave amount of silence, this film sees the comedy in tragedy and the sadness in normalcy, and is actually very tender in it’s dealing with basic human interaction. The cinematography is breathtaking and the music emotive, with the on-screen colours hitting the perfect balance between beauty and gloom. However, audiences should be prepared for plenty of hanging pauses – and a movie that takes slow pacing to a whole new level.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence does not have a release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence here: