Entertainment 'A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence' movie review -- 3.5 stars Per Bergqvist, left, and Solveig Andersson in "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence." Photo Credit: Magnolia Pictures By ROBERT LEVIN firstname.lastname@example.org @rlevin85 June 4, 2015 4:35 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Life is fundamentally "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short," wrote Thomas Hobbes in "Leviathan," a notion humankind has grappled with for as long as there has been abstract philosophical thought. The Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson completes a trilogy ruminating on the meaning of it all with "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence," and the result is a stirring tableau that simultaneously evokes the loneliness of our natural state and the joys of finding a distraction from the despair. The picture unfolds in the grand absurdist tradition, a widescreen panorama consisting of scenes that play out over still, single takes from a distance. There are protagonists -- two down-on-their-luck salesmen of novelty items -- but the movie is unified by the small moments that occur on the edges of the frame, around these two men, that illustrate the complexities of existence. Modern-day cafegoers are astonished to find 18th century King Charles XII ride in on horseback; a man slowly drops dead as his wife happily cleans dishes in the next room; a flashback is set to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," in which a bar proprietor kisses a line of servicemen for a shot; soldiers lead African slaves into a churning metallic device and watch as it burns. The movie's ethos is summed up in part by a poem read by a young girl in one segment, which describes a pigeon, sitting on a branch, wondering why he doesn't have more money before flying home. It is equally, though, to be found in a tender shot of a couple cuddling on a beach or, in one of the fewer closer-in images, a friend reaching out to another in a moment of sadness. This, Andersson optimistically says, is life: strange and mundane, tragic and humorous, trying and joyful, filled with meaning and utterly senseless. There's no understanding any of it, ultimately, so why not embrace it all? By ROBERT LEVIN email@example.com @rlevin85 Robert, amNewYork's Editor-in-Chief, has been with the team in one capacity or another for more than a decade. He also reviews movies and writes entertainment features. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.