Roy Andersson’s A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence has been selected as Sweden’s official foreign language film entry for this years’ Oscar race. The critical favorite, which won the top prize (Golden Lion) at the 2014 Venice Film Festival, received a stateside release earlier this summer courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
The film is a black comedy centering around Sam and Jonathan (Nils Westblom and Holger Andersson, both of whom appeared in Andersson’s 2007 feature You, the Living), a pair of novelty salesman who embark on a sometimes fantastical voyage. The film is divided into a series of absurdist episodes. Andersson wrote as well as directed.
While perhaps not particularly prolific, Andersson has proven a distinctive filmmaker on the international circuit. You, the Living as well as his 2000 feature Songs From the Second Floor have earned respect from the critical and cinephile community. Both titles were also previously chosen as Sweden’s official Oscar submission in their respective years though neither in the end received nominations. Last year, Sweden selected the hit Force Majeure, a critical and popular favorite, that nonetheless also failed to make the Oscar cut.
Additionally, the Swedish Film Institute has two aces in this years Oscar race however if Pigeon doesn’t make the grade. They are also going to support the documentary Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words, a film focusing on the legendary Golden Era star. That film made a splashy premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival which Rialto Pictures is slated to open in theaters sometime later this year.
So far, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence joins previously announced foreign film contenders Son of Saul (Hungary) and Labyrinth of Lies (Germany). The deadline for foreign language submissions is October 1st. The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards will be unveiled on January 14th.