Review: ‘The Bird’

A grieving Bordeaux kitchen worker prefers solitude over compassion in French drama "The Bird," though an unannounced avian caller seems to have missed the memo.

A grieving Bordeaux kitchen worker prefers solitude over compassion in French drama “The Bird,” though an unannounced avian caller seems to have missed the memo. Latest gently observational feature from scribe-helmer Yves Caumon (“Peekaboo,” “Boyhood Loves”) is his first with a femme protag, and spindly star Sandrine Kiberlain (“The Women on the Sixth Floor”) impresses as an earthy woman who just needs to be alone for a while, pigeons be damned. Though not idiosyncratic enough for wider breakout, fests, upscale satcasters and Francophone territories will let this “Bird” fly.

Charismatic and enigmatic in equal measures, anything-but-loquacious Anne (Kiberlain) is pursued by a handsome colleague (Clement Sibony), though she’s not interested — at least, not now. It slowly emerges, through tiny bits of narrative shrapnel amid the intentionally quiet, normal life she leads, that she’s very calmly trying to figure out what to do next after the death of her son and her separation from her hubby (Bruno Todeschini). The divorce was perhaps caused by their opposing ways of mourning, though Caumon’s m.o. offers only clues, not certainties. Lensing is atmospheric, score spare but soulful, and sound design especially noteworthy.

The Bird

France

Production

A Les Films du Losange release of a Blue Monday Prods., Arte France Cinema production, in association with Canal Plus, Arte France, Cinecinema. (International sales: Les Films du Losange, Paris.) Produced by Bertrand Gore. Directed, written by Yves Caumon.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Celine Bozon; editor, Sylvie Fauthoux; music, Thierry Machuel; production designer, Sophie Reynaud; costume designer, Marie Le Garrec. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 8, 2011. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Sandrine Kiberlain, Bruno Todeschini, Clement Sibony, Serge Riaboukine, Alice Belaidi. (French, Spanish, Romanian dialogue)
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