I recently signed up to write about Serra's latest (Louis XIV), so I figure it's high time I check out his earlier films. First up: Birdsong, whose many ardent admirers appreciate its empty vastnesses, its oblique piss-take on a too-told tale, and the cryptic not-quite slapstick of its cloud-addled kings, see something deeper and finer in it than I was able to make out. More muttering among the holy clowns, please.
Mindnumbingly slow. It would have worked better as a short(er) movie. The images certainly are beautiful, but a tad hollow, since there's not much context for them. What impressed me the most was the sound. The wind, the water, the rattling of dead leaves and sand, the silence. Truly remarkable. Without dialogues it would have been more solemn. The 3 Wise Kings were too whiny.
I remember the screening at TIFF'08 that became a test in audience patience. The number of walk outs became comical and took focus off the slow moving but rewarding film unfolding. Seeing the film again now one marvels at the simplicity of the familiar story and the rich b&w cinematography but can't help but wonder exactly what the point of the film may be. That was a question the director didn't shed light on.
draws a new line between myth, farce and high seriousness - immersing the viewer in what is less a search for a deity, as the elderly patriarchs' cumbersome scavenge for the divine. the palpable rediscovery of the senses is returned to the patient viewer, as it is to the three pursuers - "If you look carefully... you'll discover certain things." Friend, did you look carefully?