There aren’t many filmmakers working today with as distinctive a cinematic style as Roy Andersson. The Swedish auteur has spent the last couple of decades creating his own painterly worlds from scratch within his personal studio, as detailed sets are meticulously constructed for the free-flowing series of vignettes which populate his last three films. You know an Andersson film when you see it.
With his latest entry, About Endlessness, Andersson continues his meditation on the absurdism and meaningless of human existence with a new collection of fleeting moments, narrated by a ghostly female voice that hovers over this world impassively. He’s as much a master of mise-en-scène as ever, each vignette (shot, as always, as one static take) having the power to stun in its visual intricacy.
Andersson’s bleak meta-comic touch is still sharp, with recurring scenes involving a priest losing his faith and a man disturbed by the return of a childhood acquaintance that he wronged provoking ear-to-ear grins. Other moments are shocking in their matter-of-factness, with the trivial and the tragic constantly intersecting and blurring to become one and the same.
You could argue that Andersson just makes the same film over and over and for the first time, About Endlessness has a few scenes that feel vaguely familiar, if not somewhat repetitive. But the artistry is still so strong and his worldview so perfectly complements our farcically miserable current existence, that I can’t help but be absorbed.
Keep playing around in your studio toybox, Roy.
- Release Date: 9/11/2019