A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Sweden | 2014 | 101 min. | Roy Andersson

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Swedish master Roy Andersson’s 2014 masterpiece—an absurdist, surrealistic and shocking pitch-black comedy, which moves freely from nightmare to fantasy to hilariously deadpan humour as it muses on man’s perpetual inhumanity to man.

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Like his previous features Songs From the Second Floor and You, the Living, master Swedish director Roy Andersson takes up the theme of “being a human being” with this meticulously crafted, dreamlike black comedy. Sam and Jonathan, a pair of hapless novelty salesman, take us on a kaleidoscopic tour of the human condition in reality and fantasy, unfolding in absurdist episodes: a 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 is a journey that unveils the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, life’s grandeur, and the humor and tragedy hidden within us all.

  • Original Language Title: En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron
  • Director: Roy Andersson
  • Principal Cast: Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom, Charlotta Larsson, Viktor Gyllenberg, Lotti Törnos
  • Country: Sweden, Norway, France, Germany
  • Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 101 min.
  • Producer: Pernilla Sandström
  • Screenplay: Roy Andersson
  • Cinematographers: István Borbás, Gergely Pálos
  • Editors: Alexandra Strauss
  • Filmography: You, the Living (2007), Songs From the Second Floor (2000), Giliap (1985), A Swedish Love Story (1970)
  • Language: Swedish
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • US Distributor: Magnolia Pictures