If the question of what exactly A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is would bother you if it can’t be answered, then by all means, don’t see it. Philosophical investigation, bad joke, or just a series of modern-art video installments strung together into a “film,” it resists easy definition. That doesn’t make it a masterpiece, but it’s something different, and in a good way.
A Pigeon… opens this week in limited release, and should cause a few furrowed brows as well as some rapturous praise. My review is at Film Journal International:
Roy Andersson (A Swedish Love Story) announces his newest film with a bravado that typifies the style of this acutely controlled and almost hermetically sealed piece of work: “The final part of a trilogy about being a human being.” The glacially paced circus that follows is certainly an investigation of being human, but one that’s done in the manner of an intellectual burlesque. Answers aren’t proffered in these short pieces that feature many of the same waxy-faced performers in absurd situations that range from a dance teacher who can’t keep her hands off a student to Charles XII riding into a bar. But plenty of evidence is found on the way…
Here’s the trailer: