About Endlessness (CREDIT: Magnolia Pictures)

Starring: Martin Serner, Jessica Louthander, Tatiana Delaunay, Anders Hellström, Jan-Eje Ferling, Bengt Bergius, Thore Flygel

Director: Roy Andersson

Running Time: 78 Minutes

Rating: Unrated, But It Should Be Rated E for “Extreme Existentialism”

Release Date: April 30, 2021 (Theaters and On Demand)

About Endlessness is so far afield from any other movie I’ve ever seen. I make an effort to watch as many new films as possible, so it’s nice to know that hard-to-define surprises can still arrive every once in a while. And sometimes when one of those new experiences makes its way through, I find myself at a total loss to respond. If I were assigned to review About Endlessness for an outlet with multiple critics, I would probably ask someone else to take over the job. But since this is my own blog, I feel compelled to do my best. So world, for the record: I’ve seen About Endlessness, and it’s fair to say it challenged me.

When I’m at a loss when writing a review, I find it wise to fall back on what can be objectively stated. So with that in mind, what we have here is a series of vignettes courtesy of septuagenarian Swedish auteur Roy Andersson. It opens with a couple sitting on a bench overlooking a city. A man walks through a town carrying a cross while a crowd chants “Crucify!” Some young women dance while some young men watch. A priest despairs, “What should I do now that I have lost my faith?” Hitler even shows up at one point. The whole thing ends with a guy having car trouble in the middle of the road.

I was raised Roman Catholic, so obviously the parts with the priest and the cross-carrying resonate with me. But beyond that, I have to chalk the point of this whole affair up to Andersson’s emotional/creative/existential whims. Is the experience of About Endlessness satisfying enough for me to recommend it? I’m not sure it’s supposed to be “satisfying,” unless you can be satisfied by the despair of mundanity. For some viewers (and you know who you are), that may actually sound appealing. But if you still have doubts, you should know that it’s only 78 minutes long. So if you’re feeling even just a little bit adventurous, why not give this oddball concoction a chance?

About Endlessness is Recommended If You Like: A Nordic outlook on life

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Park Benches