Roy Andersson, his latest very dark and often very funny foray into humanity and our foibles, A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE, will be a must-see. There is literally no moviemaker anything like our Mr. Andersson (shown below) whose work is singular --
and then some.
Edward Hopper (with much brighter lighting) -- while his theme is about as weighty as they get: humanity in all its sad, silly, horrible glory. His style is deadpan in the extreme and runs the risk of eventually allowing a certain sameness to set in. And yet the combination of all this remains provocative, funny, moving and quietly horrifying throughout.
What is missing, perhaps, once you have seen the first or second film in this trilogy -- respectively Songs from the Second Floor and You, the Living -- is any element of surprise. You'll pretty much know what you are getting, and it will be mostly more of the same. And yet, when "the same" is as good as what Andersson dishes out, you'll probably line up for seconds. (And thirds: This is a trilogy, after all).
Magnolia Pictures and running 100 minutes (the longest of Andersson's three, but the other two are only 98 and 95), opens this Wednesday in New York City at Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza Cinema, and will hit another 23 cities/theaters in the weeks to come. (Click here to see all currently scheduled playdates.) I noted with surprise and dismay that none of these theaters is in the Los Angeles area (Angelenos will have to travel to Santa Barbara to see this one). Surely there might be one single theater in all of L.A. willing to offer its clientele an edifying challenge like this?