• With 2019’s About Endlessness, Roy Andersson, further bolsters his legacy as one of the 21st century’s greatest voices in cinema. Andersson is an absolute master of composition.
  • About Endlessness clocks in just under 80 minutes. Andersson was 76 years old in 2019 at the time of About Endlessness so let us all hope that he has another film or two left in him (long gestation periods as well—2000, 2007, 2013, and now 2019 for his four big films). This is Andersson’s first after his Living trilogy, but the mode and tone is much the same. Each shot is a scene in duration (31 vignettes in total)- the camera never moves, and each shot is a stone-cold cinematic painting. The characters often address the camera, if they move at all it is done very slowly. The scenes often contain ironic insights- and the characters are colored in this sort of pale, unhealthy- zombie-like slate/gray color.
  • About Endlessness has a female voiceover sort of overseeing the proceedings—“I saw a man…” “I saw a woman…” “I saw a couple…” like “I saw a man who had lost his faith”. Sort of simple poetry and consistency to match the images.
  • Andersson’s aptitude for angles in his compositions helps shape the eye like Kubrick- though most of his influences are from paintings -the opening scene is from Marc Chagall’s “Over the Town”- another later is from “The End” depicting Hitler and his stooges in the bunker from Kukrynisky.
  • Paradoxes (some obvious, some more ambiguous)- one involving a priest (reoccurring priest here throughout) who dreams of carrying the cross and has lost his belief.

At the 23-minute mark- one of the standouts (it is tempting to list every single scene) is of a priest chugging wine. The drab gray—parishioners through the Ozu-like open door on the left.

Often Andersson uses a longer ellipsis when editing and compiling them to help set them apart.

Meticulously detailed- each cinematic painting is so immaculately rendered. The gray sky at the train station is one in particular to admire.

  • Some of the vignettes are more positive- at least for Andersson—there is an energy that can never cease to exist (from the text)- two youngsters with a telescope.

The Nazi vignette is certainly not one of those more positive ones- “a man who wanted to conquer the world and realized he would fail”- but it ranks up there with Andersson’s finest—askew paintings on the wall, debris coming off the ceilings.

The dentist at the bar on Christmas Eve at the 62-minute mark may be as fine a frame can be made

“I saw a defeated army”- Siberia and there is a never-ending line of extras. Andersson achieves something that is minimalist, and still outrageously ambitious at the same time.

The final vignette is a man looking for help with a broken-down car on a road that goes on to infinity—coupling with the string of soldiers… geese come back flying just like the first vignette.

  • A masterpiece