Previously at the ICA - Films
17 Oct 2008
Following his imaginative take on Cervantes' Don Quixote, Honor of the Knights, seen at the 2006 LFF, Catalan maverick Albert Serra turns his attention to the biblical tale of the Magi. Birdsong is, however, anything but a glossy attempt at Hollywood historicism. Rather Serra offers a witty contemplation of the three wise men on a search for the newborn baby Jesus and their journey takes on epic proportions as they meander along the desert-like terrain with fortitude and stoicism. Replete with espadrilles and full robes, they trek across the expansive landscape, stopping to ruminate, rest, bicker, swim, debate the route, and try to outdo each other recounting eccentric dreams. This is a film that refuses to follow the literal, opting instead for a celebration of the playful and the imaginary. There is something of Pasolini's The Gospel According to St. Matthew in Birdsong's elliptical structure, black and white camerawork and recourse to non-professional actors. Serra's visual palette, however, moving effortlessly from Laurel and Hardy's Another Fine Mess to Welles' Chimes at Midnight, shows a filmmaker effortlessly able to draw on the mythology of the past to examine what spirituality means in our present day world.
LFF programme text by Maria Delgado.
Dir-Scr Albert Serra, with Lluís Carbó, Lluís Serrat Masanellas, Lluís Serrat Batlle, Spain 2008, 98 mins