We’ve been watching bird movies. Here’s a final roundup.
Alone Among Birds (1971, Janusz Kidawa)
Ornithologist Jerzy Noskiewicz lives on a nature preserve on a West Polish lake, watching and tagging the local and migrating birds. Beautiful and very birdy short, divided into chapters, with big doom music.
Ptaki (1963, Kazimierz Karabasz)
Much more bird-appropriate music here, with light guitars and woodwinds. Doc of a homing pigeon competition – the pigeons are trucked away from their starting point then fly back and get ranked on speed. After the birds’ release the movie flies back home itself, showing a birds-eye view via aircraft. All their legbands are removed by the judges, so how does any breeder get their own bird back?
Ptak (1968, Ryszard Czekala)
Opens with a beautiful animated bird made of free-floating triangles before following a lumpy crosshatch man with weird fingers who runs the public toilets. The man is in trouble with the government, and either the toilet job is his punishment or he’s paying the fine with toilet money. He frees the bird in the end. I didn’t get it. I saw Czekala’s The Roll-Call a few years ago, and he’s kind of a depressing dude.
Birds (1968, Frans Zwartjes)
Trix is bobbing a toy bird on a string, but every five seconds the camera flash-edits to her bare legs instead, and back, and again, until despite the film’s short five-minute runtime, even Trix gets tired and goes to sleep.
Los Pajaritos (1974, Antonio Mercero)
Air pollution montage then a bunch of dead birds, oh no. Royally costumed dude trades his getup for one of the last living birds, a woman with finely sculpted hair gets the only other bird in town, and they both lose their birds and give chase to recover, until they meet up at the park with two birds, making plans to flee the city. A silly dystopia, everything over-punctuated – I guessed it was by the Telephone Box guy pretty easily. Her bird chase is fun, using ever-larger chase vehicles, recruiting everyone she sees to help, and apparently having a grand time. Both leads also appeared in Luis GarcÃa Berlanga’s Placido.
Birds (2012, Gabriel Abrantes)
Meeting scene in a Haitian forest with halting dialogue. Second movie of my Birds series where someone’s spouse is transformed into an animal – this time a goat. Good closeup of a buzzard, then into town where everyone is jumping and shouting in full bird costumes. Meta-conversation accusing Abrantes of using “shitty theory.” Maybe it’s an arthouse/festfilm parody, I dunno.
Bird Karma (2018, William Salazar)
Short, snappy and cartoony, produced by Dreamworks. Water bird has all the fish he can eat, but goes after the magic golden rainbow fish. Salazar worked on this year’s oscar short winner The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.