RADIANT CIRCUS spent an evening trussed up in the backwoods with THE ORNITHOLOGIST at ICA London (10 OCT). Here’s our writeup.
THE ORNITHOLOGIST (2016, Portugal, France, Brazil, 117min)
From Portuguese filmmaker João Pedro Rodrigues, THE ORNITHOLOGIST is one of those oddities that drags you kicking and screaming through the experience but doesn’t really worry about where it – or you – ends up.
Ostensibly it’s a study of faith and transformation as pro-twitcher Fernando (Paul Hamy) finds himself in the woods through a series of increasingly bizarre encounters. Visually, it’s an adventurous film odyssey in which our hero gets strung up like an S&M chicken, pissed on by the devil and sates his lust with a mute goatherd who isn’t shy of drinking directly from the teat. His increasingly brutal torments are witnessed by the bird life he was dispatched to observe, a lens through which we glimpse his chances of redemption.
Don’t go expecting to make much sense of it. Do go relishing Fernando’s fall down the rabbit hole. The audience we saw it with had made up their minds by the time of the Euro pop end credits. Parting the Red Sea, half took the song as a nail in the coffin of a self-indulgent mess. The other half, RADIANT CIRCUS amongst them, skipped gaily as we headed back out into the night.
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
- Find THE ORNITHOLOGIST, João Pedro Rodrigues and Paul Hamy on IMDb.
- The film screens at ICA until 18 OCT (check venue for dates/times).
- Read our OCTOBER SCREENS guide for other wild and astonishing things.
- Browse our HALLOWEEN GUIDE for London’s film events that go bump in the night.
- Explore our TOP 10 CINEMAS for other great places to shelter from the storm.
Featured images: THE ORNITHOLOGIST (2016).