Cinema Releases - The Metamorphosis of Birds
Beatriz and Henrique fall in love and marry on the day of her 21st birthday. Henrique, a naval officer, spends long periods at sea and travels to Angola and other former Portuguese colonies. He dreams of being a bird. Ashore, Beatriz, who learned everything from the verticality of plants, takes great care in raising their six children. Henrique and ‘Triz” correspond by letters. One day, she suddenly dies. Henrique orders their letters to be burned upon his death. The children, grown up with kids of their own, hesitantly comply with his wishes.
World Premiere (Encounters) and Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize – Berlin International Film Festival
101 min/Portugal/Portuguese with English subtitles/2020/Cert U
Week Starting 22nd October
|ICA Cinema||The Mall||London SW1Y 5AH||020 7930 3647||23/26-28 Oct|
Week Starting 11th March
|Bertha Dochouse||Brunswick Centre||London WC1N 1AW||08719 642838||all week|
|ICA Cinema||The Mall||London SW1Y 5AH||020 7930 3647||all week|
|Cine Lumiere||17 Queensberry Place||London SW7 2DT||020 7871 3515||all week|
|HOME||2 Tony Wilson Place||Manchester M15 4FN||08719025747||all week|
|Arthouse Crouch End||159a Tottenham Lane||London N8 9BT||020 8245 3099||all week|
|Arts Picturehouse||38-39 St Andrew's Street||Cambridge CB2 3AR||0871 902 5720||selected shows|
|Picturehouse Central||Piccadily Circus||London W1D 7DH||0871 902 5747||selected shows|
|Gate Cinema||87 Notting Hill Gate||London W113JZ||020 7018 3629||selected shows|
|Hackney Picturehouse||270 Mare Street||London E8 1HE||0871 902 5734||selected shows|
|FACT||88 Wood Street||Liverpool L1 4DQ||0871 902 5747||selected shows|
|Curzon Home Cinema||(from Mon 14/3)|
Week Starting 18th March
|ICA Cinema||The Mall||London SW1Y 5AH||020 7930 3647||19,20,22,24 Mar|
|Bertha Dochouse||Brunswick Centre||London WC1N 1AW||08719 642838||18,19,21,23 Mar|
|Duke of York's||Preston Road||Brighton BN1 4NA||0871 902 5747||21st Mar only|
|Watershed||1 Canons Rd||Bristol BS1 5TX||0117 9275100||all week|
|Curzon Home Cinema|
Week Starting 25th March
|ICA Cinema||The Mall||London SW1Y 5AH||020 7930 3647||26,31 Mar|
|Showroom Cinema||Paternoster Row||Sheffield S1 2BX||0114 275 7727||all week|
|Curzon Home Cinema|
From 1st April onwards
|Filmouse||88 Lothian Rd||Edinburgh EH3 9BZ||0131 228 2688||9-12 April|
|Queens Film Theatre||20 University Square||Belfast BT7 1PA||028 9097 1097||9-11 April|
|Palace Cinema||Harbour St||Broadstairs CT10 1ET||01843 865726||26,28 April|
|Chichester Cinema||New Park Rd||Chichester PO19 7XY||30/4 & 2/5|
|Curzon Home Cinema|
Catarina Vasconcelos was born in Lisbon in 1986. After graduating from Lisbon’s Fine Arts Academy, she moved to London where she pursued an MA at the Royal College of Art. Her final project, the short film “Metáfora ou a Tristeza Virada do Avesso” (Metaphor or Sadness Inside Out), was her first film. “Metáfora” premiered at Cinéma du Réel in 2014 where it was awarded the prize for the Best International Short Film. The film screened at various festivals such as RIDM - Montreal International Documentary Festival, where it won award for Best international Medium Length film, DokLeipzig, Moscow International Film Festival and Doclisboa. Her first feature film, “A Metamorfose dos Pássaros” (The Metamorphosis of Birds”) had its premiere in the Encounters section at Berlinale 2020.
2020 The Metamorphosis of Birds
2014 Metaphor or Sadness Inside Out (short)
|Inês Melo Campos|
|José Manuel Mendes|
|João Pedro Mamede|
|Writer, Director||Catarina Vasconcelos|
|Producers||Pedro Fernandes Duarte, Joana Gusmão, Catarina Vasconcelos|
|Sound||Adriana Bolito, Rafael Cardoso|
|Sound Design||Miguel Martins & Rodolfo Cardoso|
|First Assistant Director||Mariana Veloso|
|Production Coordinator||Maria Inês Gonçalves|
|Production Company||Primeira Idade|
|101 mins BBFC cert U|
|Full Music credits here|
The Metamorphosis of Birds 100% Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
'Picture perfect...Caterina's Vasoncelos's debut feature is a reverie that makes you want to dream forever.
Her images are so imaginative and so powerful they stay with you long after the poetry of the lines has faded.
'Unfolds as a series of exquisite vignettes. Each frame is a masterpiece composed with the beauty and exactitude of a Dutch still life. Meanwhile, on voice over, we are treated to a poetic meditation on grief.'
Sally Kent, THE ARTS DESK
"Experimental...has a cumulative power that draws the audience into its dreamy, contemplative rhythms.
'Poetic, Portuguese documentary...the film is a treasure box of family legends.'
Wendy Ide, THE OBSERVER
'Could've happily sat with this 100-minute film for at least another hour.
Catarina Vasconcelos' hybrid documentary explores family lineage in an inventive and soulful manner.
On the evidence of this sparkling and unique film, it surely won't be long before Vanconcelos will be joining the likes of Pedro Costa and Miguel Gomes at Portugal's top table, even though this very much adopts the eccentric manner of the latter rather than the austere tone of the former.' David Jenkins, LITTLE WHITE LIES
'Portuguese visual artists Catarina Vasoncelos's debut is a gorgeously shot fictionalised documentary love letter to her family.
A thoughtful and gentle essay on longing and loss. It's a film of extraordinary, beautifully composed images, each one like a painting itself: the strong capable hands of the family's maid cutting a squash or closeups of the veins on a leaf.'
Cath Clarke, THE GUARDIAN
'When it produces beauty and lyricism - as it does here - this kind of cinema is worthwhile.
Ed Porter, THE TIMES
'Gently and poetically advised...this considerate, light debut from the Portuguese visual artist Catarina Vasconcelos: a lyrical, introspective love letter to her household, gorgeously shot on 16 mm.'
THE EARTH TIMES
'An absorbing, intoxicating experience, and one which is so very beautiful...
Striking in its abstract form and hypnotic in its unique compositions...a deeply personal consideration of life, death and the natural world.
...elevates your cinematic experience to an otherworldly plain. It's as sensory as an Apitchatpong Weerasethaku film as religious as something Terrence Malick would make, and just as unflinching in its portrayal of death and grief as modern masterpieces such as 'Drive My Car'.
'Handles several interlinking themes but perhaps most of all, it is a thorough examination of motherhood, and in particular a moving ode to Vasoncelos' mother and grandmother. The director finds time for humour amongst the arthouse sensibilities, listing traditional duties of women in society before a woman with a hairdryer drowns the voiceover out as it begins to list those of men.'
William Stottor, LOUD AND CLEAR
"What human beings can't explain, they invent." Caterina Vasconcelos constructs a magnificent, shimmering dreamscape around her ancestors and their enchanted exitence in and with nature. This is a universe where oranges are the extension of families. The storytelling is mesmerising, both visually, shot on 16mm film by Paulo Menezes, and in regards to the poetry of the spoken language used to express all that yearning and insight. "
Anne-Katrin Titze, EYE FOR FILM
“Bewitching Doc-Memoir Hybrid of Metaphors, Memories and Magical Realism
Striking imagery and lyrical language turn a family-history essay into an aching meditation on generational love and the mourning after.When you can't remember, invent" is advice passed on at one point, but what is remarkable here is the vividness of Vasconcelos' inventions.”
Jessica Kiang, VARIETY
"Filmed in a retelling of past accounts, more so than a straight documentary, this elegant film essay is a deeply poetic and semi-imagined family history....charged with sensuality and emotion, and a litter of nature photography.
There is a curious and purposeful focus on only this family unit which is visually striking, featuring detailed interiors, interesting photography, and detailed reenactments shot beautifuuly on 16mm film. Through meticulous images, there is a deeply resonant metamorphic presence of birds, through Jacinto's childhood fixations to the family maid in surreal sequences."
Nick Davie, ONE ROOM WITH A VIEW
“This debut feature by Portuguese writer-director Catarina Vasconcelos is an inventive, boldly imagistic piece that marks its creator as an original, deeply thoughtful talent.”
A poetic documentary essay...Metamorphosis is shot exquisitely on 16mm, each image meticulously composed and lit...densely steeped in cultural allusion that takes in painting, literature (notably Moby Dick) and music...
'Inspired by her family history - the director herself appears alongside several relatives - Vasconcelos offers a poetic account of three generations, compromising densely woven strands of visual and verbal metaphor.
Very much offering a female perspective on family, doemsticity and the outside world, this mostly introspective film also contains a political dimension, notably sparked by Hernique's voyages to Angola and other former Portuguese colonies."
Jonathan Romney, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
"It's evident from the beginning that this poetic and personal work of metafiction is concerned with the power of meticulous and sensitive observation...
In some ways, Vanconcelos' work is aesthetically reminiscent of old masters like Manoel de Oliveeira, Raul Ruiz, and Andrei Tarkovsky as it seeks to connect the personal facets of one's domestic life to a more ontological universalism where all humans are "located in the intervals of existence, between the earth and the sky."
A sensual and lyrical work that recalls the old masters even as it carves outits own distinct and pleasurable path."
Ayeen Forootan, IN REVIEW ONLINE
"...Catarina Vasconcelos's aching memoir straddles the realms of visual art and film...lends lush imagery and poety in story of longing and loss...the film's cumulative effect is moving in ways that are profound and hard to put into words. Vanconcelos finds a new, imagistic way to express these vast and almost uncontainable ideas, in a work that boldly straddles the realms of visual art and film."
Janet Smith, CREATSIR
“Catarina Vasconcelos’ first feature is a visual ode to the beauty of the relentless cycle of life (and death)”
…a love letter to the people who have ever existed on Earth and who, by being trees, the main pillar of our existence, have allowed us to fly.”
Teresa Vieira, CINEUROPA
“The Metamorphosis of Birds is a beguiling, engaging portrait of family history”
Ed Frankl, THE FILM STAGE