Birdwatchers

"Excellent"

Birdwatchers Review


Beautifully shot and performed with the authenticity of a documentary, this involving drama has a lot to say about human progress in rural Brazil, although its off-handed story and slow pace might alienate some audiences.

Osvaldo (Pedro) is a young Guarani whose dreams seem to be coming true, so he begins his training as a shaman. But a nasty event spurs the leader of the nomadic group, Nadio (Vilhava), to move to a new location on the side of a large farm owned by a man of European descent (Medeiros). This sets the two communities in conflict: the wealthy landowners and the indigenous people who are watching their land and lifestyle disappear.

Filmmaker Bechis sharply captures the realities of life in this part of the world, with its blend of old and new customs. For the Guarani, the spirits live among them, and they adapt to modern life even as they retain their traditions.

Their rich history gives them the right to cross private land to get to their hunting grounds--after all, it belonged to them before the foreigners stole it.

And these kinds of clashes are only part of the story.

The film is punctuated by eerie suicides, as bodies of young people are found hanging in the jungle. Is this indicative of frustration and hopelessness about the future? Is it a protest against injustice? Or is it a symptom of the emptiness of a people group that has lost its way? Whatever it is, the images are thoroughly haunting and unsettling, and subtly remind us of the pointless deaths of young people in our Western cities.

And it's this kind of insight that makes this film vitally important. Not only is it a compelling little drama, packed with characters who are vivid and involving (the women are hilariously matter-of-fact), it's also a clever "eco-drama", looking at big issues of global economy and social justice. And beyond that, it captures something even more profound about human nature and the need for connection and respect.



Birdwatchers

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th November 2008

Distributed by: 01 Distribution

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Marco Bechis

Producer: Marco Bechis, Caio Gullane, Fabiano Gullane, Amedeo Pagani

Starring: Taiane Arce as Kinha, Alicélia Batista Cabreira as Lia, as Beatrice, César Chedid as Farmer

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