El cant dels ocells

  • 98'
  • Spain
  • 2008
Albert Serra surprised two years ago with his exceptional feature Honour of the Knights, a minimalist Catalonian portrayal of Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha. In it, Quixote and Sancho travel largely silently through the Catalan landscape. With Birdsong, Serra again films a classic story, the biblical epic of the Three Kings. The wise men trudge in devastated surroundings to the stone hut where Jesus was born while discussing the right direction.
Alongside the sublime amateur actors from Honour of the Knights, this time the father of one of them also plays a role. In addition, Serra gave small roles to his producer and the resident Rotterdam staffer Mark Peranson, who also made the 'making of': Waiting for Sancho. They improvise the often wordless and modest actions in static shots. Serra sometimes shows them as prophetic silhouettes, then as absurd archetypes contrasting with the overwhelming landscape filmed in black-and-white.
The director, who studied Spanish literature, art history and comparative literature, says he does not like the modern era. In reaction to what he regards as the very dramaturgically responsible Honour of the Knights, he says that here he aimed to avoid any sentiment and to strip the story of any unnecessary suspense. This results in a dryly comic and impressive version of a mythical quest. (GT)

Director
Albert Serra
Country of production
Spain
Production Year
2008
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
Length
98'
Medium
35mm
International title
Birdsong
Languages
Spanish, Hebrew
Producers
Montse Triola, Lluís Miñarro
Production Companies
Andergraun Films, Eddie Saeta
Sales
Capricci Films
Screenplay
Albert Serra, Albert Serra
Cinematography
Jimmy Gimferrer, Neus Ollé
Editor
Albert Serra, Angel Martin
Production Design
Jimmy Gimferrer
Sound Design
Joan Pons, Jordi Ribas
Music
Paul Casals
Cast
Mark Peranson, Montse Triola, Lluis Carbó