Odder than a trip to Ikea...
Completing one of cinema’s more oblique trilogies, Roy Andersson follows Songs From The Second Floor and You, The Living with this droll third episode “about being a human being”, winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion.
Beginning with ‘Three meetings with death’, Pigeon is a series of vignettes – some of them brief, a couple hitting the quarter-hour mark – reflecting on life, death, ageing, nostalgia, debt and sexuality. The opening scene typifies what’s in store, as two pale-faced types silently contemplate exhibits in glass cases in a museum, including the eponymous pigeon.
A Pigeon will irritate as many as it delights and, even if you buy into Andersson’s singular world-view, some skits will simply pass you by. Others will have a profound effect: the sight of a monkey being electro-shocked, or black slaves being herded by English-speaking soldiers into a metallic rotating drum-like oven, their screams somehow transformed into beautiful music.
Some moments are jaw-dropping, notably when Sweden’s 18th-Century monarch, King Charles XII (Viktor Gyllenberg), stops at a café as a ceaseless procession of soldiers marches past the window. Supping a glass of mineral water, he then pays special attention to the young male bartender. Logic and cohesion don’t really apply here – Andersson’s bizarre world just wouldn’t allow it.