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A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence - Glasgow Film Festival

Thursday 5 March 2015, by Nisha Ramayya

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is ‘the final part of a trilogy about being a human being’, divided into over 30 self-contained scenes. In his note of intention, director Roy Andersson lists his influences: Bruegel the Elder’s painting ‘Hunters in the Snow’, in which four birds seem to observe a village scene from above; the New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit) art movement, which emerged in response to the abstract, romantic, and idealised aspects of Expressionism; and Homer’s Odyssey, and its fantastic, wandering yet coherent narrative structure (www.royandersson.com/pigeon)
A man gazes at a pigeon sitting on display in a museum. This must be the eponymous subject, everything must return to this point.

Death happens in the middle, with an almost pop, a mewl, a little bother.

Love clutches like death; the conversation revolves around hands.

What do your heroes do for a living?

The walls are beige, pale yellow, and complicated by pinpricks.

A woman on the other side of the flamenco lesson: ‘I’m happy to hear you’re doing fine.’
A lonely officer on the other side of again.

Kissing continues, and the soldiers march into battle.

Can you read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps?

Kissing continues, and you cannot imagine what the old man hears.

Kissing continues, and it is Wednesday once more.

‘Abstraction is to be condensed, purified, and simplified’, for example, a bag full of laughs, an unclaimed sandwich, a melodious abomination, a large black dog as it curls.

Isn’t it nice, to be the only person who notices, to make meaning through perforation.

Uncle One Tooth places his head in his hands: ‘Humans do not see an approaching apocalypse.’

Little girls blow bubbles on the balcony, this is a corner piece.

Disappointment is an accumulation of early nights and other people’s lowered voices – everything that slips between the experience and its description.

What colours do you associate with the word ‘lugubrious’?

Dir. Roy Andersson, 2014

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