A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

"If Monty Python had been founded by dour Swedes, then the troupe's 'Meaning of Life' might have resembled 'A Pigeon'." - National Post

“Roy Andersson, a Swedish director with a style totally unlike anyone else’s, has the mind of a museum curator. Each of his shots— static, meticulously arranged, with both foreground and background space usually in sharp focus—operates like its own exhibit, inviting eyes to wander from corner to corner. The filmmaker gazes upon his human subjects with an almost anthropologic curiosity, as though they were specimens on display.

“Pigeon doesn’t deviate much from the diorama-like approach Andersson established in 2000’s Songs From The Second Floor and 2007’s You, The Living. Like those earlier works, it presents a series of droll, loosely connected episodes, heavy on gallows humor and featuring nonprofessional actors playing nameless and sometimes figures of existential malaise. Many of the vignettes build to mordant punchlines. Other times, Andersson goes for a surrealist flourish.

“Pigeon depicts a world haunted by history, sometimes quite literally. The film is most transfixing when it’s focusing on smaller, less significant displays of human behavior: little girls blowing bubbles; our two “main characters” (a term to be used loosely here) squabbling and then apologizing; a man identified as simply “Lonesome Lieutenant” calling to find out why his date stood him up, as a woman—possibly his missed connection—sobs alone in the restaurant behind him. In some respects, Andersson has taken this particular mode of filmmaking about as far as it can go, but that mode remains so unique, so powerfully unprecedented, that it’s impossible not to get hits of pleasure just from gawking at his shoebox world.” - A.A. Dowd, The A.V. Club


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