Common Birds

  • 84'
  • France
  • 2019

4th century BC, Aristophanes wrote the comedy Ornithes, in which two men leave their birthplace in search of a better life. Maglioni and Thomson give the play a remarkable update. Combining a contemporary Athens marked by crisis and the ancestral forest of La Gomera, they alternate between Ancient Greek and Silbo Gomero. The latter is a nearly extinct whistled language that forms part of a long tradition of resistance.

Half documentary, half fantasy, this deadpan tale of two friends who opt for a life as outcasts evokes both the recent social history of Greece as well as another, timeless realm. Taking their inspiration from Pasolini as much as from Straub & Huillet, the filmmakers daringly shift from grey to colour, from a gritty realism to poetic mysticism, in order to contrast the economic climate with the ecological. In a deceptively simple, yet inventive form, Maglioni and Thomson explore the boundaries of voice and language, while articulating an uncompromising criticism of capitalism and power relations.

Directors
Silvia Maglioni, Graeme Thomson
Premiere
International premiere
Countries of production
France, Greece
Production Year
2019
Festival Edition
IFFR 2020
Length
84'
Medium
DCP
Language
Greek
Producers
Eugénie Michel Villette, Vassilis Konstantilieris, Silvia Maglioni
Production Companies
Les Films du Bilboquet, Arctos Films, Poteau d'angle
Sales
Les Films du Bilboquet
Cinematography
Thomas Favel, Graeme Thomson, Panagiotis Vasilakis
Editor
Laurence Larre
Sound Design
Graeme Thomson
Music
Graeme Thomson
Cast
Rinio Kyriazi, Tassos Raptis, Kostas Vassardanis, Ana Luz Arteaga, Kico Correa