If you've seen one of Andersson's previous three films -- Songs From the Second Floor in the year 2000, You the Living in the year 2007, and (winner of the greatest movie title of all time according to me) 2014's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Contemplating Existence (and I really do recommend you see each and every one of these) -- then you should know what you're in for when I say "a Roy Andersson movie." About Endlessness is another 76 minutes of static mostly-disconnected vignettes in boxy scenes drained of color starring unremarkable potato-shaped people doing not a lot. A man ties his daughter's shoes in the rain. Some drunks stand in a bar in the afternoon and stare at the snow falling.
And even if, unlike the colorful Chagall painting it references, this film's singular image of encoiled lovers flying in upper space do so above pale gray smoking ruins, About Endlessness somehow feels like a dare-I-say hopeful nudge from our beloved pessimist. About Endlessness has its drunks look at the snow and say, "Everything, everything, everything is fantastic," as Christmas music plays, and he really makes you think everything might be fantastic. If you too could just find a quiet place to stand and watch the snow fall, well, wouldn't it be?
About Endlessness, even more than its three predecessors (which found more time for politics, war, and comedy), concerns itself with sparkling little semi-hopeful gems, seconds and scenes, moments where his ever suspended time shimmers and shimmies up against magic. Three girls come upon a country cafe playing a song and everything stops as they dance to the song; we watch, the patrons watch, and at the end they and we clap for enlivening a moment that might've otherwise only slipped past forgotten. It's a parade of visions before one dies, really -- what are the things you will remember at the end? Andersson has a way of capturing them, turning them over in his hands, and gifting them back fresh, pure, perfect -- fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.