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As a Swedish renegade whose pointillistic human dioramas are painted with dots in much the same way as the landscapes of George Seurat, Andersson has always been delighted by the utter absurdity of existence on earth. His films laugh at the perverse existence, the purgatory of “Songs from the Second Floor” and “You, the Living,” which are gloomy cartoons in which the commonplace and the majestic go hand-in-hand together. Enormous throng lines up to ritually observe a small girl shooting from a precipice. Hundreds of people – as far as the eye can see – are fleeing from a war zone, but the bags they refuse to leave are weighed against them. Dozens of slaves have gone to a big organ that brushes and converts their cry into lovely music living through a fire.
Yet if even the title of the current feature of Andersson sounds like a sardonic comedy, it is also meant for value. Since founding his own studio with the profits he had accumulated from decades of huge commercial success, “About Endlessness” has the least hilarious and most tender film he has made, the same attributes of life itself: it’s both short and endless. The heartbeat is over and yet it feels like it can go forever. Andersson pauses as soon as it’s evident, like a Scheherazade in the stones, that he can outlive us. Better than 1,001 nights for 76 minutes. Also, you must try to play this About Endlessness quiz.
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On the second look, it was the carelessness that sometimes stood in my crawl. One man without legs is in the corridor of an underground station playing the mandolin in one of Andersson’s magnificently structured living tableaux, which somehow look uncomfortable, even if they are plainly nigh obsessive to the last frame. The storyteller mentions that the man lost his legs to a mine, and then says, “He was really sorry.” You do not want to invoke a nasty phrase ending with Sherlock, but in this case, the sometimes exaggerated boundary between dry and glittering is highly emphasized.
However, generally, you feel thankful for the vision and visions of Andersson. One can luxuriously place cream and blue in key areas of the photograph in the pastel colors on his frames, beginning with a gray and canny base. He likes presenting curved alleys or roads extremely much. A Christ figure in modern clothes is through a station of the cross on one of them, like others in the video cry that he will be crucified from other scenes. This belongs to a story thread in which a priest loses himself and his therapist his beliefs and torments. On a different turn, three joyous young women go into the café and start dancing spontaneously on the sound system of the Delta Rhythm Boys. The film’s “endlessness” comprises a great deal of senselessness and deception, but its grace notes are sounding most loud.
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However, scenes of hope, pity, and love are also there. An elderly wizen in the bar, whose windows show you a gorgeous snowy view, says that it’s “Excellent …fantastic” to a room of strangers. His rapture is not enough to convince the dentist, who we saw in the earlier scenes and fell on his bar, and now, in his proto-Covid weariness and sorrow, his operation mask has pulled down into his chin.
And everything has this unmistakable feeling of composition. I call it the Field Depth of Andersson. Striking pictures and postures take place under the nose of the camera, but the audience’s eyes, like on a railroad path, are directed to eerily mesmeric background scenes which have a sharp definition of independent living to scrutinize. There is great supplementary pleasure in the church, on the bus, on a vast railway station contest to merely note the background, as vividly as a waking dream.
Some moments of displeasure are small, even unconscious. A middle-aged woman looks out of the window, and the voice-over states she is a “Communications Manager, unable to feel guilt,” but not shameless in action. A man approaches the camera, tells us how he has lately hailed someone he knew at school in the street, just to have that person ignore him and realize that he was not forgiven for a mistake that he did a long time ago.