A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Watch A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 1 hr 41 min
  • 6.9  (19,318)
  • 81

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is a Swedish black comedy film directed by Roy Andersson. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2014 and won the Golden Lion award for Best Film. This surreal movie is a part of the infamous "Living Trilogy" and is set in an alternate universe that reflects the mundanity of human existence. The movie features no clear narrative and is comprised of a series of vignettes that are seemingly unrelated but share the same underlying themes.

The film begins with a classic Anderssonian shot: a frame within a frame. The audience sees a birdcage in the middle of a room, as if anticipating the entrance of the title pigeon. The film cuts to a disturbing scene of a defeated-looking man in a lab coat punching a plastic bag rhythmically. The scene quickly changes to another equally surreal one where two middle-aged entertainers, dressed as vaudevillians, are trying to sell novelty items like vampire teeth and a laughing bag. The monotony of their business reflects the mundanity of life in general.

The movie frequently deals with themes of the absurdity of life and the inevitability of death. These concepts are evident in the various scenes featuring death and suffering in the everyday life of the characters. In one of its more disturbing scenes, a king-like figure on a horse rides through the streets and stops at a local café. He orders 1000 Baby Ruth's and a glass of water before gathering his horse and ordering the café to burn down.

The film, at its core, is a satire on the human condition, and the predicament of the characters reflects the mundanity of everyday life. The movie employs Andersson's trademark long takes and static shots, and the camera always seems to be on a fixed position, as if watching the characters from afar. The movie depicts humanity’s strongest and weakest traits, with some characters demonstrating kindness and compassion, and others exhibiting negative traits like greed and cruelty.

The film’s pace is slow, with scenes unfolding slowly and purposefully. The effect is one of mesmerization, with the audience often holding their breath in anticipation of each new sequence. The color palette is heavily washed out, with scenes depicting muted and pale colors contributing to the movie's surrealistic atmosphere. Punchlines and jokes are delivered in a deadpan fashion, leaving the audience unsure of whether to laugh or not.

At its heart, the movie is a commentary on the existential anxiety that pervades humanity. The myriad of characters in the film reflects the different human personalities that one is likely to encounter in real life, but the absurdist manner in which they are portrayed is what makes the movie so unconventional. Some surreal scenes in the movie - such as a bar where World War II-era soldiers gather for a glass of beer, or a person in a gorilla suit constantly sweeping a tree-lined street - can be interpreted as random but serve to create the film’s dreamlike atmosphere.

The movie ultimately leaves the viewer with a sense of melancholy, as the characters’ reflections on existence remain largely unanswered. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is a poetic, visually spellbinding, darkly comical, and thought-provoking masterpiece. The film is not for everyone, but for those who appreciate cinema that provokes contemplation and reflection, it is an unforgettable experience.

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is a 2015 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 41 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 81.

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
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Where to Watch A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
    2015
  • MPAA Rating
    PG-13
  • Runtime
    1 hr 41 min
  • Language
    Swedish
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (19,318)
  • Metascore
    81