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A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

1h 41m Comedy, Drama, Surreal 2014

In a series of extraordinary vignette's Roy Andersson explores the comedy and tragedy of what it is like to be a human being.

We love how Xan Brooks of The Guardian paints the scene of audiences leaving Andersson’s “glorious metaphysical burlesque”:

“The cinema doors are flung open and the delegates totter out into the daylight. They look faintly drunken and shell-shocked, barely beginning to process the things they’ve just seen. This, I’m guessing, is a fairly common response to a Roy Andersson picture. The director comes to town on a mission. He possesses a big box of magic; he wants to help people have fun.”

Like a modern-day Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sam and Jonathan, two traveling salesmen peddling novelty items, take us on a kaleidoscopic wandering through human destiny. It is a journey that unveils the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, the humor and tragedy hidden within us, life’s grandeur as well as the ultimate frailty of humanity.

The narrative of A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is told through 40 different static scenes, each meticulously and painstakingly crafted in Andersson’s studio by the director and his close group of long-time collaborators known simply as “the team.” The dioramas range from simple household scenes alternating between tragedy and comedy, sometimes both, all the way to an epic, mind-melting scene-stealer towards the end of the film: a wild encapsulation of the blase privileged class, oblivious to their own evil.

The film won the best film Golden Lion at Venice but also won the heart of Alejandro González Iñárritu who said “every stroke of Roy Andersson’s cinema is a wonderful sonic canvas that reveals our fragile humanity. It has a unique pace, vision, and imagination without losing the beauty of the realism that surrounds it.”

We adore this film, and are very happy to be able to share it with you!


Roy Andersson



Closed Captions [CC]

English captions




Magnolia Pictures

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