Roy Andersson must be a master of the throwaway dinner party anecdote. His work is filled with sharp vignettes of everyday life, where often very little happens, but somehow it holds a deep meaning. About Endlessness is not officially part of his ‘Living’ trilogy capped by A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, but it bears a lot of the same hallmarks.
Andersson’s script takes a broad approach to human life, covering dozens of short scenes, each of which encapsulates a lifetime of sadness, frustration, loneliness or joy. It’s a rare filmmaker who thrives in such economy, and there are none better than Andersson. Greater time spent on each story would only diminish the power of the direct, absurd sketches he uses to explain life.
The sickly pallor of his cast and sets, and his existential topics of choice, may suggest a filmmaker wallowing in misery, but Andersson’s primary mood is an amusing frankness, maybe even hope amongst the harsh realities of life.
First-world problems are skewered beautifully with the structure of the script and edit. A darkly comic scene of a dentist frustrated by his anaesthetic-refusing patient transitions to the same dentist quietly drinking in a bar as the other patrons are transfixed by the snow outside. One man proclaims how happy he is and although it’s hard to argue when watching one of the most beautiful shots of the year, the dentist is silent. Then we cut to a defeated army trudging through a snowy field.
About Endlessness is about everything and nothing, about the biggest and smallest of problems, about firing squads and broken shoes. Watching Andersson make meaning out of such meagre ingredients is like watching a magic trick turning dust into diamonds.
CAST: Jan-Eje Ferling, Martin Serner, Bengt Bergius, Tatiana Delaunay, Anders Hellström, Thore Flygel
DIRECTOR: Roy Andersson
WRITER: Roy Andersson
SYNOPSIS: Simultaneously an ode and a lament, Om det oändliga (About Endlessness) presents a kaleidoscope of all that is eternally human, an infinite story of the vulnerability of existence.