Monday, October 10, 2016

Ornithologist (2016) New York Film Festival 2016

THE ORNITHOLOGIST left the audience at the press screening shaking our heads wondering what we just saw as the film shifts from the tale of the title character into a religious allegory and spiritual journey and into psychotronic territory.

Beautiful to look at film goes from normal to weird in an instant and then just gets stranger and stranger as it goes on. Trust me on this this film just goes off the deep end in ways I never imagined.

It begins with Fernando, the title character, alone in the wild ending up on the wrong end of some rapids He's found by a pair of devoutly Christian lesbians from China who are lost and want him to take them to the pilgrimage route of Saint Anthony. When he refuses they tie him up in is sleep in a manner I've only seen in a bondage magazine. It goes on from there with a the appearance of natives in costumes, the appearance of bare breasted Amazons speaking Latin, a killing, mystical birds and other strange things.

I know what it is supposed to mean, the transformation (literal) and redemption of the self through belief, but I really don't think the film manages to pull it off other than as the concept the director was shooting for. Of course if I knew the story of the Saint Anthony whose pilgrimage it's mirroring that might help too...or not.

A bunch of people at the press screening slept through chunks of the film. Everyone I spoke with was simply shaking their head when it was done in the "what the hell was that way" writers sometimes do.

From my stand point it's a beautiful film that is thematically a mess. Its probably the most challenging film out side of the Projection sidebar at NYFF, but that isn't enough to recommend it. Its simply too out there, too conceptual and too messy to truly work. (Though if you see it you will know you seen something even if you have no idea what the hell it was)

For tickets and more information go here

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