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The Films of Roy Andersson: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Fri, Jan 21 / 7pm
Sat, Jan 22 / 9:10pm
Wed, Jan 26 / 7pm
Thu, Jan 27 / 9:45pm
Directed by Roy Andersson
2015, Sweden/Germany/Norway/France/Denmark, 101 mins
Swedish & English w/ English subtitles

In the “Living Trilogy”’s final installment, two hapless novelty salesmen wander around town hawking vampire fangs and rubber masks while bickering like an old married couple. Their small cruelties towards one another are contrasted with sequences involving Charles XII, Sweden’s most bellicose king, who reappears in the present to lead the country  to a new series of disastrous defeats. The film culminates with a blistering, disturbing indictment of humanity’s lack of empathy for other humans and their fellow creatures. Though often compared to Fellini and even Monty Python, Andersson seems closest to Luis Buñuel here, in both the surrealist flourishes and the rage — as well as the genuine empathy and sorrow — that underlies his humour. Like late-period Buñuel, he is intermittently amused by human foibles, and even finds some grace notes. Two children blow bubbles off a balcony, while an aging patron in a Gothenburg bar recalls the establishment’s glory days in the 1940s in an unexpected musical number. (This being Andersson, the tribute is double-edged: the tune they sing is the same one Charles marches off to war to.) Andersson has cited Dostoevsky’s influence, and like the work of the great Russian master, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch… is not for the faint of heart. It is a provocative and disturbing critique of our times. The film earned Andersson the Golden Lion at Venice, making him the first Nordic director to win that prize since Carl Dreyer.

Songs from the Second Floor: The Films of Roy Andersson was made possible as part of Nordic Bridges 2022 in collaboration with Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, and TIFF.

Reviews

[A] singular, engrossing collection of vignettes with a cumulative, disconcerting power.
- Philippa Hawker, The Age
This iconoclastic filmmaker seduces you with ridiculous laughs, then sends you home contemplating your mortality and your place in the world.
- Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
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Mon 17

Sisters with Transistors

Available to rent for $9.99
January 14 - February 28
Mon 17

Greener Grass

Available to rent for $4.99
January 14 - Feb 28
Wed 19

Best of GFF: One of Ours

Sat, Jan 8 / 7:15pm
Sun, Jan 9 / 3:30pm
Wed, Jan 12 / 7pm
Sat, Jan 15 / 4:30pm
Tue, Jan 18 / 7pm
Wed 19

The Films of Roy Andersson: Giliap

Tue, Jan 18 / 9:10pm
Thu, Jan 20 / 9pm
Thu 20

Bootlegger

Fri, Jan 7 / 7pm
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Sun, Jan 9 / 5:40pm
Tue, Jan 11 / 9:30pm
Thu, Jan 13 / 9:30pm
Sat, Jan 15 / 9pm
Sun, Jan 16 / 5:30pm
Wed, Jan 19 / 7pm
Thu, Jan 20 / 7pm

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