A Deadpan Mosaic: A Review of ‘A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existance’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - June 11, 2015

Often in life, it is important to embrace the absurd that is around us, but sometimes even rolling with what comes at you isn’t enough.  A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting Existence is dead pan, puzzling, engrossing look at the human condition and even if you don’t quite understand it you damn well can’t look away from it while you’re laughing your head off or feeling uncomfortable for laughing your head off.

A journey into the deadpan and rye nature of the human condition, a pair of hopeless novelty salesman, take us on a kaleidoscopic tour through the reality and fantasy of their lives, unfolding in absurdist episodes that have to be seen to be believed.  We visit a rousing sing-along at a 1940s beer hall, a randy flamenco teacher, a thirsty King Charles XII of Sweden en route to battle, and a diabolical metaphor for the horrors inflicted by European colonialism. It shows the genuine beauty in the single quite moments of our lives how deep and callous the petty nature of others can be along with the, life’s grandeur, tragedy, humor and comedy in everyday life.a-pigeon-sat-on-a-branch-contemplating-existence

From writer/director Roy Andersson who is well known for his penchant for the absurdist we get something that works more as a piece of experimental art then a narrative that takes from A to B.  This is a movie where you just need to embrace the journey of it all.  We are a fly on the wall of things happening all around us and Andersson not only puts the action in the foreground where things are obvious but much like the tableau of a painting, you need to pay attention to everything in the frame.  It’s never supposed to be anything but a deadpan, uncensored look at how we behave when we aren’t thinking about how we are behaving.

These comedic vignettes that we get lead through are so self involved in many ways that you almost feel sorry for the characters in them.  It plays like a live action expressionist painting, real and totally ridiculous at the same time.  The two salesmen play it all in such a dry fashion you are never quite sure when to laugh, or when to feel uncomfortable.

It’s a hard film to recommend to standard film fans, but A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting Existence is one of those pieces of art that fans of the moving image need to experience, as it tells so much more of a layered story then just the words that come out of the characters mouths.pigeononabranch

  • Release Date: 6/12/2015
This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.

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