Trailer: ‘About Endlessness’ is a Curiously Poignant Meditation on Existence
Over the last twelve months of this ongoing global pandemic, both selflessness and selfishness have risen to spectacular heights, as healthcare workers have been giving their last ounces of strength every day to save yet another life, while certain politicians and the people who listen to them act with utter disregard for the safety of others. It has decisively re-ignited the unwinnable debate about the essential moral character of humanity: are we good, or are we not?
Into this harrowing situation comes the new film by Swedish auteur Roy Andersson, the thought-provokingly titled About Endlessness – for which the first trailer has just been released by Magnolia. Netting him a Venice Film Festival Silver Lion for Best Director, it’s a fantastical film, to be sure; but it is very much about who we really are as people. Andersson was a graduate of the Swedish Film Academy, and was influenced by the Czech New Wave, which influence would ultimately culminate in his peculiarly comic 2014 film A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.
About Endlessness is similarly reflective and existential in its tone and viewpoint, and is also carried out in a series of not-narratively-related vignettes. The trailer opens with seven people seated or standing in an unassuming cafe in Stockholm, with the prettily falling snow visible through the windows. An exchange between two men goes like this:
“Isn’t it quite fantastic?”
“Everything. Everything. Everything is fantastic.”
Later, in what appears to be a doctor’s office, one man asks, “What should I do now that I have lost of my faith?” What indeed? And a question that many confront on a regular basis, certainly. Elsewhere, a couple is seen floating over the war-ravaged city of Cologne; a man drags a cross up a modern day street, Christ-like, to the bewilderment of onlookers; and a defeated/demoralized Hitler is viewed in his bunker, in the final days of the war,
It’s meant, surely, to connect a seemingly unconnected series of events – some of them monumental, some of them ostensibly inconsequential – and allow us to contemplate the oddness of existence, with its little beauties, and prodigious horrors. And in doing so, About Endlessness may just conjure a bit of philosophical enlightenment, at a time when we surely need it most.