For Reel

Bird People (2014)
December 8, 2014, 8:19 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Pascale Ferran
4.5 Stars
Bird PeoplePascale Ferran’s Bird People contains one of the great delights of the movie-going year in its second half. It’s a triumphant surprise, one that parallels the first half of the picture in a very literal way and injects the somber material with a certain vivacity. The first hour of the film follows Gary (Josh Charles), an American businessman who finds himself in Paris for a quick meeting before leaving for Dubai. Stressed out, unhappy, and unable to sleep due to panic attacks, he makes the decision to quit. Quit everything: his job, his family, his life as he knows it. There’s much to be made about his confrontation with the concept of freedom–one likes to think that they are the masters of their own fate, and it’s a nice twist to see both the utter resistance and the brutality that he faces upon his rash change of heart. The second half of the film follows a hotel maid (Anaïs Demoustier) embracing a much more enlivening sense of freedom. Ferran’s visuals are beautiful–early on, he shows echoes of Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire as the camera floats through a train to observe the passengers. Much of the film occupies this sort of “bird’s eye” view. That is, not in the way that we understand bird’s eye in conventional cinematic language (a high angle shot), but a sweeping, graceful type of camera movement that approaches even the familiar as alien. There’s a charming curiosity in every bit of the picture, mimicked by the inquisitiveness of the sparrows that figure prominently into the plot.

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