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Set in a bird sanctuary outside Geneva, Sérgio da Costa and Maya Kosa’s film slyly blends documentary and fictional elements in its examination of a small, delicate ecosystem where humans are as in need of care as their avian charges. Closely observing the specialists’ routines—which involve nurturing and caring for the birds, and raising the mice on which some of them will feed—the film takes on the solemnity of Bresson, with its deadpan voiceover and stately organ music. By turns dryly comic and quietly contemplative, Bird Island locates both profound comfort and sorrow in these interspecies interactions, as the human caretakers find satisfaction in their work and resign themselves to their unrequited affection for their animal companions.
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See more at Art of the Real, presented virtually nationwide from Nov. 13-26. Explore the lineup and get tickets here.