THE ORNITHOLOGIST (PT/F/BRA, 2016, João Pedro Rodrigues)

Maybe you’ve seen some films by the likes of Pedro Costa or Miguel Gomes already, then it should be no big news for you anymore that contemporary Portuguese cinema is definitely something to keep on radar. Not unlike those two directors, João Pedro Rodrigues’ cinematic language is also quite unique and inventive and his way of storytelling beautifully weird. Reason enough for us to include his most recent work O ORNITÓLOGO (THE ORNITHOLOGIST) in our programme. You can already see the trailer below. The whole film will be screened on 11 April, 8pm at Luru Kino, including important travel safety tipps for your next birdwatching tour through the Portuguese countryside.


PT/F/BRA 2016, D: João Pedro Rodrigues, A: Paul Hamy, Xelo Cagiao, Han Wen, Chan Suan, OV/English subtitles, 118’, DCP

Fernando is a solitary ornithologist looking for rare black storks on a remote river in the north of Portugal, until his canoe is swept away by the
current and capsizes. Regaining conscious again, he is located in a forest, having been rescued by two Chinese pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Fernando’s way back into his life turns into a surreal inward journey, in which the narrative increasingly dissolves, gets rid of time and space barriers and establishes a sexual myth. At it, nobody needs to know that THE ORNITHOLOGIST is Rodrigues’ autobiographical fragmentation and recklessly free modernisation of the clerical story of Anthony of Padua in order to like this film. Au contraire: the erratic, marvellously eccentric episodes, the mysterious density and ambiguous sensuality of the pictures attract from the very start. THE ORNITHOLOGIST is detached cinema, which is in constant transformation together with its figures, subject only to itself—a kind of cinema leaving behind earthly gravity as the birds do. Such a pleasure in associative fabulation would cause films to fall apart in the hands of most other directors. Rodrigues, however, with impressive control, mingles motives that seemingly do not match. He confers the episodes with a self-willed coherence that keeps one in line—and also casually holds the gaze of the film’s birds, which take a look back at Fernando from above from time to time.

11 April, 8pm – Luru Kino at the Spinnerei – € 6,5 (5,5 red.)