Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Ornithologist 2017


I’ve been meaning to write about this odd strange surreal and dense little Portuguese film since I saw it a few months ago, but have not gotten around to doing so until now. Probably seeing Mother! Another odd strange surreal dense but big film pushed me to the computer to say yes see this film.
Both films deal with the natural world, religious motifs and deep dish hidden meanings and messages but it’s the smaller film that is the most successful and tantalizing. It is a difficult journey not only for us but for the lead the very attractive Paul Hamy who is the ornithologist and who we first see traveling alone in the quiet and beautiful waters in the lush and isolated north of Portugal looking at rare birds through his binoculars and enjoying the solitude of his journey. I felt tense.
We soon realize that besides being alone in nature he is also gay and not so alone in his life back home, as he keeps getting calls on his cell from his lover to remind him to take his meds. He is soon pushed and pulled in dangerous situations, his boat overturns in rough waters and he looses most of his supplies. I felt tense. He wakes up to find himself tied to a tree by two nasty Chinese lesbians who at first appeared to be helpful and benign but soon they have him tied up like St. Sebastian and are planning in the morn to take him out. He’s alone with his erection and somehow he escapes from this bit of erotic surrealism to journey on to even more dreamlike, metaphysical religious and sexual encounters.
The film is a jagged puzzle full of images and sequences that pull us in all sorts of directions and labyrinths but I think it’s best to just go along with it without trying to figure out what’s it all about. Unlike Mother! Which is cheap surrealism this one is a higher step up. It’s also sexy as can be. Directed by Joao Pedro Rodrigues who is no stranger to homoerotic fantasies and metaphysical pop dreams and nightmares.


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