A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Rated: PG-13

        The title seemed so promising! I mean, as far as titles go I've seen some odd ones, but most of them have been pretty good, such as The 100 Year Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. And so I'm sure you can understand my excitement when I saw the title A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence on The Music Hall's calendar. Not to mention that it was also made by a Swede, Roy Andersson, and was listed as a comedy. I watched the film trailer included with the description, and although it did look quite peculiar and odd, it seemed to have promise.

        As the opening credits rolled I noticed that this film is the third in a series of three in which Andersson studies and contemplates human behavior and existence. At the time I still had high hopes for the film, and so made a mental note to look up the titles of and see the other two films soon the thereafter. I still had not a clue that the next two hours would be some of the longest of my life.

        Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. The first hour went pretty quick. Not to say that it was all that entertaining or painless, but it was tolerable at least. And then I did it! I made the mistake of checking my watch at exactly the one hour mark. I had forgotten to check the run time of the film beforehand and so had no idea how long the rest of it would be. I couldn't imagine it running all that much longer. Boy was I mistaken! This abomination of a film still had another hour to go!

        I’d love to pause here and give you some sort of wonderful description of what this film was about, but I can’t. This truly is one of those films that doesn’t really seem to be about anything in particular. Some of the scenes contain the same characters, some of them contain the same locales, some don’t contain either, but all in all they are loosely related at best.
        What really made this film terrible was Andersson’s insistence on using the same “joke” (I use that term loosely) FAR too many times and his inability to know when he’d been on one scene/shot for way too long. For example, one of the running “jokes” was to show people on the phone talking to someone and, besides the universal “mm hmm” they’d utter over and over, all of them would say “I’m happy to hear you’re doing fine” at least twice. This happened at least five times throughout the film. Another “joke” was these two novelty salesmen. They were the most depressing looking and sounding people ever, and in every scene with them they’d repeat their sales line word for word. Needless to say, all of that got old pretty quick.

        With a film like this it’s difficult to put into words the exact things that make it terrible. I know I haven’t given you much to go on here, but I hope, for your sake, that you trust when I say that this film should be avoided at all costs! I’ve honestly been to more lively funerals! Unfortunately for me, I’ll never get the two hours I wasted watching this garbage back. Your saving grace will be never to watch it in the first place!

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is rated PG-13, was written and directed by Roy Andersson and “stars” Holger Andersson and Nils Westblom. It has not yet been released on video in the US.