A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Roy Andersson's 'Living' trilogy concludes with this tragicomic vision, winner of the Golden Lion at Venice.
After another seven-year gap the final installment arrives, and in many ways this is the most satisfying and accessible of the three – even if, judging from the mock- profound title, we can assume that it’s not targeted at the multiplex. Opening with a trio of darkly slapstick deaths, including one in a ferry canteen where the staff maintain a strict policy of no refunds, the interconnected vignettes are threaded together by a Laurel-and-Hardy-ish pair of downtrodden joke salesmen.
One particularly memorable sequence sees them cross paths in a bar with Sweden’s King Charles XII, an entire 18th century army following behind him, and the film’s willingness to hop around in time brings a new dimension. For the first time digital effects have also been used to complement the trompe l’oeil trickery of his sets, while retaining the instantly recognisable feel of Andersson’s world. Who knows what he’ll do next, but it’s safe to say that we won’t see the like of the ‘living’ trilogy again.
A Roy Andersson pass is also available for £25. This bundle gives access to all of Andersson's 'living' trilogy as well as a screening of his shorts and commercials.