A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence – Director Roy Anderson

The plot of the film onsets with three monographs on death. In one of them, a young man has died in a cafeteria on board a cruise ship. Officers and other on-board members hover over him with concerned expressions on their faces. The server is worried, rather than concerned, about what to do with the bottle of beer and a plateful of shrimp since the dead man had already paid. At this point, a stout senior man shuffles forward and with a shrug, helps himself on the dead man’s beer.

The film features a series of self-contained tableaux that are connected by recurring characters or themes. Most of the plot follows Jonathan and Sam, who are travelling novelty salesmen. The two live in a desolate flophouse and attempt to gain clients for their joke articles. This is a comedy-drama film that is both engrossing and captivating. The two characters are not very good at selling their novelties, as they are shy and tactless. It is hilarious in the scenes where they pitch to customers who appear like they couldn’t care less about Halloween masks and plastic vampire bags.

Jonathan is constantly teased by Sam as being over-sensitive. He also suffers from an unclear sinking feeling that something is wrong with his life. This feeling leads to him having problems with Sam later on. Jonathan is not depicted as completely blameless. In one scene, he is shown bullying a storeowner who attempts to address them about the payment for novelties previously bought on credit. There is a fair amount of eating and drinking in this film, a plus one for food lovers. The whole movie is set on a series of comedic sketches about persons who are too self-involved to commiserate with each other. It is a thrilling drama that guarantees to keep an audience glued to their seats, from its beginning till the end.

About the Film

The film was written and directed by Anderson and starred Nisse Vestblom and Holger Anderson. It was produced by Linn Kirkenaer, Pernilla Sandstrom and Håkon Øverås. It was edited by Alexandra Strauss. Other cast members were István Borbás and Gergely Pálos who did the cinematography. The film was launched in Venice on September 2nd, 2014 and in Sweden on November 14th,  2014. It runs for 101 minutes and was originally produced in Swedish.

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Roy Anderson

He was born and raised in 1943 in Gothenburg, Sweden. He graduated in 1969 from the Swedish Film Institute where he directed his first movie. Since then, he has directed a lot of films including the ‘A Swedish Love Story’ in 1970 ‘Songs from the Second Floor’ in 2000 and ‘You, the Living’ in 2007. The film ‘Pigeon sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence’ (2014) was his last production. He has also directed numerous commercials since 1967 to 1991. Some of the most notable accolades that Anderson won were the Stig Dac-egerman Prize in 2000 and the Golden Lion for Best Film in 2014.