Bob Balaban's dark comic horror about a young boy suspecting his suburban parents to be cannibals
On Film4: 7 Dec 12:40AM
A bird becomes trapped in the home of a woman (Sandrine Kiberlain) suffering the long-term effects of grief, in a beautifully-realised character study from writer-director Yves Caumon
By day, Anne (Sandrine Kiberlain) works in the kitchen of a rather clinical restaurant serving anonymous food to customers she never sees. Outside of work she simply exists. We quickly come to realise that there is some great trauma in Anne's past, which has cut her off from enjoying life, effectively marooning her in a cyclical, friendless existence from which she only very occasionally makes any effort to break away.
Grief as inertia is a challenging thing to attempt to capture on film. Challenging both in terms of the filmmaking itself, because this is a complex emotional state not readily conveyed in broad accessible brush strokes, and also more mundanely from the point of view of finding an audience, because it hardly makes for a comforting experience.
The third feature from writer-director Yves Caumon (whose debut feature Amour D'Enfance played Un Certain Regard in Cannes in 2001), The Bird nails the muted, underwater, wrapped-in-cotton-wool quality of depression, without ever succumbing to an easy nihilism. Unashamed of presenting us with an alienated and alienating character, Caumon and Kiberlain trust us to stick with Anne through a film which requires a patient opening-up on the part of the viewer, making little attempt to seduce us. Attentive viewers will be rewarded with an unsettling, emotionally resonant experience that sticks with you for weeks.
Bleak but bold filmmaking built around an uncompromising central performance from Sandrine Kiberlain.
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