The pale, vintage interiors of Roy Andersson’s latest film

Winner of the Silver Lion award for Best Director at the lastest Venice Film Festival, “Om Det Oändliga (About Endlessness)” is a phlegmatic sequence of everyday life scenes.

Despite its exasperating slowness, the public (and the jury) welcomed him with great affection at the latest Venice Film Festival. Swedish director Roy Andersson’s latest film collects fragments of Nordic everyday life, accentuating the protagonists’ inactivity and the grotesque hidden potentially everywhere. A woman whose heel is broken decides to walk barefoot at the station, a priest who loses his faith talks to his psychoanalyst, a dentist gets sick of his patient’s paranoia, a waiter is distracted while pouring wine, an old couple comments on the climate, and so on.

Roy Andersson, Om Det Oändliga (About Endlessness), 2019

The direction doesn’t add anything new to his cult films, at a point that among the audience there were those who claimed that the scenes were remnants of A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014) or Songs from the Second Floor (2000). All the scenes open up as motionless as oil paintings, an effect accentuated by the artificial pallor of the actors, the director’s hallmark. The narrator’s voice is feminine and crystalline, and opens all the chapters with the phrase “I saw a man/woman who...”: you can hear it a sufficient number of times to learn it in Swedish.

Roy Andersson, Om Det Oändliga (About Endlessness), 2019

The phlegmatic rhythm makes tangible the powerful inner turmoil of the protagonists, who only on rare occasions vent them but, you can guess, never to the end. The set design plays on a contemporary vintage made of modern furniture and pastel colors, uniformed by a very bright light that metaphorically dissolves every accent. The surfaces are treated with textures that give a patina of past times, even when the furniture looks just like Ikea.

Roy Andersson, Om Det Oändliga (About Endlessness), 2019

About Endlessness is one of the few fictional films that participated to the Venetian festival, loaded, instead, with excellent documentaries and socially denouncing films. The fact that it won alongside Joker (Golden Lion, by Todd Phillips) and J’Accuse (Silver Lion, by Roman Polanski) – both fiction movies – tells us that the public and the jury are very keen to return to using cinema as a means of dreaming.

Latest on Art

Latest on Domus

Read more
China Germany India Mexico, Central America and Caribbean Sri Lanka Korea icon-camera close icon-comments icon-down-sm icon-download icon-facebook icon-heart icon-heart icon-next-sm icon-next icon-pinterest icon-play icon-plus icon-prev-sm icon-prev Search icon-twitter icon-views icon-instagram