The Mozart Bird

Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival Aug. 28, 1993. Running time: 75 min.

Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival Aug. 28, 1993. Running time: 75 min.

Howard … Daniel Daran

Selene …Stacey Grace

The explicit sex and explicit talk about sex throughout “The Mozart Bird” may turn off many viewers and, in fact, there were lots of walkouts at the Montreal Festival screening. But this steamy, intellectual gabfest could still find a niche on the arthouse circuit with audiences looking for alternative fare.

Howard (Daniel Daran) and Selene (Stacey Grace), a couple of English-speaking foreigners living in Amsterdam, begin a casual affair that turns serious and then begins to deteriorate. Howard is a fledgling fiction writer, and both suffer from the tendency to over-intellectualize — typical of over-educated, underemployed university grads.

“You were the first man I met who actually liked talking about sex,” observes Selene at one point, and that neatly sums up the film. There’s endless analysis of their sex lives, which is saved from self-indulgence by the tough, true-to-life humor of the script by Daran and director Ian Kerkhof.

The depiction of a failed relationship has an almost documentary feel to it and, at its best, “The Mozart Bird” works as a talky, erotic take on sex and male-female relations in the 1990s.

But Kerkhof’s attempt to deliver a sort-of “Last Tango in Amsterdam” isn’t for everyone: Almost all the action takes place in one apartment, and the claustrophobic setting is reinforced by the stark, gloomy photography. The first 15 minutes take place in almost total darkness.

Pic also features lots of nudity and sex scenes guaranteed to land it in ratings hot water. Tech credits are average.

The Mozart Bird

(Dutch -- Sex drama -- Color)

Production: A Spellbound production. (Intl. sales: Intl. Art Film, Amsterdam). Produced, directed by Ian Kerkhof. Screenplay, Kerkhof, Daniel Daran.

Crew: Camera (color), Joost van Gelder; editor, Wendela Scheltema; music, Rosalind George; sound, Fokke van Saane.

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