About Endlessness (2019) - 9/10
Updated: Apr 25
This is really why I signed up to MUBI. Andersson’s work isn’t for everyone. A bit too avant garde, surreal, down right weird and okay fine it’s all that, but indulge his work and you’ll be rewarded. His latest About Endlessness follows his signature style of slightly hyper real looking shots, held with a locked frame for long periods of time, whilst sparse movement and dialogue sits within. These frames are made to be poured over, for meaning or simple appreciation. This is just the canvas though. Andersson’s strength is what he paints on top. It’s the patience in each scene, not hindered by the need to cut and trim with multiple cameras. Everything’s allowed to breathe. So we get a varied cast going about their mundane lives. Sometimes with some dialogue, often in complete silence other than the sounds around them, usually with a simple narration. It’s a wild trip to be honest from the waiter pouring red wine all over the pristine white table cloth, to the old man dragging a crucifix up a narrow hillside street as he’s whipped. He’s dreaming thankfully, but all the scenes have that quality to them. The priest who’s lost faith, the boys yet to find love, the grieving parents, the woman with a broken shoe, they could all seem incidental. But then there’s the floating couple above a war ravaged city where only a cathedral remains standing. On the whole it feels a little more accessible than Andersson’s other films, but packs no less a punch. Some scenes will make you smile or laugh, others study in a confused awe. One or two will stop you in your tracks, for reasons of horror, sympathy or joyful retribution. You find yourself wondering which scene is your favourite, but it’s impossible to choose. The shots with lots of people seem masterful in a way over the more minimal set ups, but there’s always a control present that marvels. What does it all mean you might ask. Well that’s the fun isn’t it, whether trying to decide, interpret or simply immerse yourself in it. I’ll shamelessly say I tend to favour the latter. These scenes are like paintings with a gorgeous even light and pale faced characters, but I’d say it’s simply about people, moments, the things that make us human, that make us the same and distinguish us from others, all wrapped up in the fragility of our existence. Time is irrelevant. Maybe I’m wrong, who knows. What I do know, is that this is brilliant, a wonderful addition to Andersson’s stunning body of work and I think we’d all rather be a tomato.