Life sucks and then you sigh in "About Endlessness"
Starring Martin Serner, Jessica Louthander, Tatiana Delaunay, Anders Hellström, Jan-Eje Ferling, Bengt Bergius and Thore Flygel. Written and directed by Roy Andersson. Streaming at digital TIFF Bell Lightbox. 78 minutes.
Swedish auteur Roy Andersson is cinema's maestro of mundanity, a man who can make a sigh seem as heavy as an anvil. His worldview is a flat horizon of human interactions where the camera never moves and his characters barely do, and the trivial shares equal ground with tragedy, both exquisitely mounted like museum pieces. He's previously focussed on the absurdity of life, as seen in "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence" (2014). This latest collection of bone-dry episodes is more rooted in melancholia, as it canvasses magic realism (two lovers float over a bombed-out Germany) and quotidian tedium (untied shoelaces, missed connections, conked-out cars). Andersson's enervated subjects seem to realize, as does the deadpan narrator, that cruelty is a default human characteristic and the light at the end of the tunnel is an approaching freight train. Take the sad-eyed priest who is the main character of "About Endlessness." He's losing his faith and having nightmares about being literally crucified in the streets of Stockholm. He reveals his personal hell to a psychiatrist, worrying that if there's no God controlling our destinies, "what there's to believe in then?" "Damned if I know," the shrink replies. This also qualifies as the film's only joke, but don't let that stop you from getting your fix of artful melancholy. Just make sure you don't have any razors nearby. 🌓