• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:August 21, 2020

The Painted Bird


Somewhere in Eastern Europe during World War II, a young boy (Petr Kotlár) is living with his aunt; after a shocking incident, he’s on his own, trying to survive in a cruel world. This adaptation of the controversial novel begins with a pet being torched, setting the tone for an episodic, long journey that subjects the boy to countless horrors as he meets a wide range of people representing the best and worst in mankind. Grim in every sense, reminiscent at times of Come and See (1985), even if the atrocities almost take on a predictable tinge after a while. Impressively shot, with a very good cast. 

2019-Czech Republic-Slovakia-Ukraine. 169 min. B/W. Widescreen. Produced by Aleksandr Kushaev, Václav Marhoul. Written and directed by Václav Marhoul. Novel: Jerzy Kosinski. Cinematography: Vladimír Smutný. Cast: Petr Kotlár (Joska), Nina Sunevic (Marta), Ala Sakalova (Olga), Udo Kier, Michaela Dolezalová, Stellan Skarsgård… Harvey Keitel, Julian Sands, Barry Pepper.

Last word: “[Kotlár] has a dog and he loves him very much. So I said to him before one shot, ‘Petr, try to imagine that you are out walking your dog and you meet a friend. You forgot the dog is with you. He gets lost. Where is he? Maybe somebody stole him. Maybe he is starving.’ And in that moment the tears came to his eyes. With children, though, always you must say: it’s a game, it’s not real. It’s very important to say it again and again. But it was hard for him. After, he told me he doesn’t want to be an actor.” (Marhoul, The Guardian)



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