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The Ornithologist

Saturday, April 15, 2017
8:30 p.m.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017
5:00 p.m.

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On a solo expedition to study black storks, a mishap separates strapping young ornithologist Fernando (Paul Hamy) from his camp, kayak, and the outside world. His increasingly bizarre ordeals as he attempts to get back to civilization encompass encounters both sacred and profane: First, two Christian Chinese pilgrims try making him an all-too-literal martyr to their faith, then a goatherd named Jesus offers erotically welcoming counterbalance. This remote northeastern corner of Portugal seems ominously full of secretive pagan rites! An international cineaste favorite since his 2000 breakthrough O Fantasma, João Pedro Rodrigues has created arguably his most accessible work to date, without abandoning any of his trademark idiosyncrasies. This metaphysical (but also very physical) adventure, shot entirely outdoors, is by turns sexy, surreal, mystic, and mystifying. It twists Catholic iconography into a playfully modern pretzel shape that does not neglect the filmmaker’s customary frank homoeroticism. Nor does it neglect humor—though the tribulations Fernando endures may be dead serious to him, with the film's airy absurdism, they seldom seem so to the viewer. –Dennis Harvey

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Born in 1966 in Lisbon, João Pedro Rodrigues began making shorts and documentaries in 1988. His 2000 first feature O Fantasma stirred controversy at home and acclaim internationally with its intense portrait of gay desire. Subsequent films have included Two Drifters (2005), To Die Like a Man (Festival 2010), The Last Time I Saw Macao (2012), and The Ornithologist (2016). 
Film Details
  • Country(ies): Portugal/France/Brazil
  • Language(s): Portuguese, English, Mandarin, Mirandese, Latin
  • Year: 2016
  • Running time: 118
  • Director(s): João Pedro Rodrigues
  • Producer(s): João Figueiras, Diogo Varela Silva, Vincent Wang, Antoine Barraud, Gustavo Ángel, Alex García, Maria Fernanda Scardino
  • Writer(s): João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata
  • Cinematographer(s): Rui Poças
  • Editor(s): Raphaël Lefèvre
  • Music: Séverine Ballon
  • With: Paul Hamy, Xelo Cagiao, João Pedro Rodrigues

Print Source:
Strand Releasing
6140 W Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232