If there was ever going to be a filmmaker to chronicle the diversity of human behaviour it’s got to be Roy Andersson. The veteran Swedish filmmaker recently finished his’ Human Trilogy‘ ( Songs From The Second Floor, You The Living and A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence) returns with another slice of tragicomedy with About Endlessness.
Short, mundane stories of lost solus, lonely hearts and everything in between. Give him 76 minutes of those tribulations of life you’ll get eye opening irony and absurdist hilarity.
So what’s About Endlessness all about? The best way to describe this film, it’s a collection of vignettes on humanity. Reflecting daily lives, and it’s beauty, cruelty, it’s splendour and it’s banality. The abundance of life and all it’s frailties.
Throughout the film a unknown woman narrates each vignette, observing and introducing it with ” I Saw a man…”. Like Andersson constructing a poem , moments of weakness, bewilderment, wear and tear, despair . The filmmaker is no stranger to themes of genocide or war, topics he covered before in his 1991 short, World of glory. No stone left unturned small or big. Humanity may look at times negative but compassion, gentleness and hope shines through the darkness that make you smile or laugh. Simply a little ray of sunshine bursting through the grey sombre mundanity.
The female narrator sets the mood, the tone for each vignette as she flies over the city with her male counterpart. As if they were angels watching us suffer, love, bewildered collectively, chronicling humanity.
A priest has a crisis of faith, a man begs for his life, a woman incapable of feeling shame, a man weeps on a bus , a regretful killer. Even Hitler gets his turn in his final moments in his bunker, a man ties his daughter’s shoes in the rain and young women dance at a bar in a war torn land.
About Endlessness may not exactly be on par with A Pigeon Sits On A Branch Reflecting On Existence when it comes to humour. It still has the trademark absurdism we expect from Roy Andersson. The recently released documentary Being A Human Person (2020) this gives you a better insight into the filmmakers mindset and a better appreciation of what this film is all about as he tackles his inner demons. Will this be his swan song? Possibly as he’s 78.
About Endlessness is a blissful melody of the human experience and why we exist, what also pushes us to be happy. Comical brilliance that reminds us everything has a meaning, it’s called being human.
Drama, Fantasy | Sweden, 2019 | 15 | Digital HD | Curzon Home Cinema | Dir.Roy Andersson | Bengt Bergius, Anja Broms, Marie Burman, Tatiana Delaunay
originally posted at The Peoples Movies 20th December 2020