Melancholy, existential despair, crisis of faith and the cycles of devastation wrought upon through human folly are some of the themes in Roy Andersson’s bleak, haunting, absurdist and darkly funny About Endlessness. It also forms – aesthetically, thematically, tonally and structurally – a fabulous extension to his unique vision of cinema that he’d crafted with ‘Grandeur of Existence Trilogy’ (which comprised of Songs from the Second Floor, You the Living and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence), marked by hyper-minimalism, wan-faced middle-aged people, punctiliously constructed urbanscapes reminiscent of Playtime’s Tativille. The narrative was perhaps even more episodic here than in the preceding three films (the quartet have been made over a staggering 20 years). And, it comprises of a series of fleeting, mournful, tragicomic tableaux connected by a pensive voice observing the lonely hearts and the lost souls, that ranged from the banal and commonplace to the appalling and momentous – a priest plagued with nightmares upon losing his faith; a husband who loses his cool on his wife who might be cheating on him; a guilt-stricken father who might have killed his daughter; a man who keeps his money under his mattress as he doesn’t trust the banks; another man experiencing pathos on being ignored by a former schoolmate; forlorn men and women drinking in silence; a couple out of Mark Chagall’s Over the Town hovering over a ravaged Dresden; grieving parents mourning over his son’s grave who died in war; a legless man playing a desolate dirge for passersby; Hitler’s warmongering military leaders faced with certain defeat; a swarm of POWs walking towards a harsh Siberian exile; a captive possibly left to die by the army; etc.
Director: Roy Andersson
Genre: Drama/Black Comedy/Social Satire/Ensemble Film