×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Kestrel’s Eye

Produced, directed, written, edited by Mikael Kristersson. As technically agile as it is aesthetically austere, Swedish helmer Mikael Kristersson's "Kestrel's Eye" does for birds what David Lynch's "Straight Story" does for old men. Shot with four cameras over 2 1/2 years, the film focuses on the daily routines of two highly observant European falcons, and does so without the aid of such nature-film mainstays as narration and music. While not for everyone, this experiment remains engaging thanks to Kristersson's technical virtuosity on every level of filmmaking, from cinematography to editing to sound mixing. Fueled by glowing reviews, this Swedish curio --- currently completing a weeklong run at Gotham's Film Forum --- could become an arthouse favorite among both film purists and nature buffs.

Produced, directed, written, edited by Mikael Kristersson. As technically agile as it is aesthetically austere, Swedish helmer Mikael Kristersson’s “Kestrel’s Eye” does for birds what David Lynch’s “Straight Story” does for old men. Shot with four cameras over 2 1/2 years, the film focuses on the daily routines of two highly observant European falcons, and does so without the aid of such nature-film mainstays as narration and music. While not for everyone, this experiment remains engaging thanks to Kristersson’s technical virtuosity on every level of filmmaking, from cinematography to editing to sound mixing. Fueled by glowing reviews, this Swedish curio — currently completing a weeklong run at Gotham’s Film Forum — could become an arthouse favorite among both film purists and nature buffs.

“Kestrel’s Eye” is not so much a documentary as it is a narrative feature starring real-life creatures. Kristersson is just as interested in what the birds see from their perch atop a 13th-century church steeple as he is in what they do in their nest; bird’s-eye views of humans figure as prominently as do shots of the birds hunting mice and hatching eggs.

Through Kristersson’s lens, these brown-and-gray speckled birds view the humans below them with a poet’s eyes. They watch as the groundskeeper quietly tends the church’s tidy cemetery, as young boys fidget in a long choir procession and as a brass band and color guard parade through the sleepy hamlet for no apparent reason.

Whether it is capturing the five falcon eggs hatching in the nest or the male kestrel swooping down on a field mouse, Kristersson’s camerawork is steady, precise and intimate. And while his cinematography was nominated for a Swedish Oscar, it is his editing that is truly extraordinary.

In what could be a textbook on how to construct a story without plot or dialogue, Kristersson pieces together a cohesive narrative about two animals’ quest for survival and proliferation in an indifferent world. The sound mix is no less impressive, with Kristersson including car alarms, children’s laughter and cow moos as well as the twittering of the birds. One only wishes the kestrels’ staccato bleats, which sound something like unoiled bicycle breaks, were a tad more mellifluous.

Popular on Variety

Kestrel's Eye

(DOCU -- SWEDEN)

Production: A First Run Films release of a Picafilms picture.

Crew: Camera (color, 16 mm), Kristersson; sound (Dolby), Kristersson; sound editors, Kristersson, Bo Leveren. Reviewed at the Film Forum, N.Y., Jan 26, 2000. Running time: 86 MIN.

More Film

  • Luxbox Closes Sales on Venice Film

    Luxbox Closes Sales on Venice Film 'Sole' to U.S., France (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fiorella Moretti and Hedi Zardi’s Paris-based sales agency Luxbox has closed several territory deals on Carlos Sironi’s “Sole,” which screened in Venice Film Festival’s Orizzonti section and Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery sidebar. The film just won the audience award at Pingyao Intl. Film Festival in China and a Special Jury Mention for the lead actors [...]

  • Puerto Rican singer Ozuna poses during

    Ozuna Joins Vin Diesel in 'Fast & Furious 9'

    Trap and reggaeton singer Ozuna has signed on for a role in “Fast & Furious 9” and is in talks to appear on the film’s soundtrack. Justin Lin, who directed “Fast & Furious 6,” returns to direct the ninth installment with franchise mainstay Vin Diesel starring as Dominic Toretto. Dan Casey wrote the screenplay from [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Boosting Efforts in Project Development Amid Agency Standoff

    The Writers Guild of America, locked in a six-month standoff with major talent agencies, has announced that it’s boosting efforts at gathering TV, streaming and film project development data to help members find new employment opportunities. The WGA made the disclosure in a message to members on Monday. The guild directed its 15,000 members to fire [...]

  • Fernando Meirelles The Two Popes

    AFI Fest Adds 'The Two Popes,' 'Aeronauts,' Alan Pakula Tribute

    The American Film Institute has added “The Two Popes” and “The Aeronauts” as galas during the upcoming AFI Fest along with a tribute to the late director Alan Pakula. AFI had previously announced that the romantic drama “Queen & Slim” would launch the 33rd annual festival on Nov. 14 and close with the world premiere [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Recalls Husband Blake Edwards' Battle With Depression

    The line to see Julie Andrews at the 92nd Street Y wrapped around the square of a sprawling New York City block. Seventy years since the start of her career, 60 since she asked “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” as Lerner and Loewe’s first Eliza and 50 since she sang “The Sound of Music” before the [...]

  • Bloodshot (Vin Diesel) in Columbia Pictures'

    Vin Diesel Comes Back to Life in 'Bloodshot' Trailer

    Vin Diesel is coming back again and again in Sony Pictures’ first trailer for “Bloodshot.” In the forthcoming superhero adventure, Diesel portrays Ray Garrison a.k.a. Bloodshot, a soldier who gets rebuilt by a corporation following his death. The clip, released Monday and scored to Johnny Cash’s rendition of the ballad “Memories are Made of This,” [...]

  • Bouli Lanners Teams With 'Peaky Blinders'

    Bouli Lanners Teams With 'Peaky Blinders' Director Tim Mielants on 'Wise Blood'

    Bouli Lanners, the Belgian actor-director of “The Giants” and “Eldorado,” is teaming with “Peaky Blinders” helmer Tim Mielants to direct “Wise Blood,” an English-language film that will star “Game of Thrones” actor Michelle Fairley and Julian Glover. “Wise Blood” is a Belgian-Scottish-French co-production between Versus Production, Barry Crerar, and Playtime, which will handle international sales [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content