The idiosyncratic title of Roy Andersson’s new feature, ‘A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence’ could not be more literal. Andersson has taken the three birds who watch villagers skating on a frozen lake in arguably Bruegel’s most famous painting, ‘Hunters in the Snow’, as a starting point. The pigeon in his film – a metaphorical Anderson – contemplates man’s failure to see an approaching apocalypse, which remains avoidable. Andersson has referred to it as embodying the spirit of 1920’s New Objectivity – which found an approximate film form within G.W. Pabst’s street silents – but surreal may prove a more accurate description.
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