In his latest magic act, venerated Swedish surrealist Roy Andersson takes on the entire meaning of existence with characteristic deadpan brilliance and unexpected emotional force.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
A doubt-ridden priest. A distracted waiter. A tearful commuter. Adolf Hitler. Just four of the countless humans under the microscope in Roy Andersson’s soaring and poetic About Endlessness.
Echoing Wim Wenders’ majestic Wings of Desire (NZIFF 2018), a couple, embraced as they float in the clouds, look down on a Scandinavian town as its residents contend with the pettiest of grievances and the grimmest of catastrophes. From the quotidian to the surreal, Andersson grapples with existential questions and the loss of connection, floating through an awkward dentist visit, a murder scene, an impromptu roadside dance, among other collected scenarios.
With previous festival highlights such as Songs from the Second Floor (NZIFF 2000) and You, the Living (NZIFF 2007), Andersson honed his singular style. His latest feature earned him the Best Director award at Venice 2019, and while his dry humour is pared to near-homeopathic levels, his trademarks – stunning gargantuan studio sets, impeccable low-contrast design, deadpan performances – remain intact. A film about nothing and everything, About Endlessness is a gentle wisp, a merciless critique, a thoughtful enquiry and an emotional sledgehammer all in one. — Doug Dillaman
“In 77 concise minutes, About Endlessness is completely provocative and satisfying. Each sketch dramatises a random incident in a Scandinavian city. These scenes, stylising the real and the imaginary, are light as air – capriccios that go to the heart of human experience... Roy Andersson brings movies back, but not casual film-watching.” — Armond White, National Review