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The Ornithologist

Director: João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal/France/Brazil, 2016, 118 mins, Cert: 18 and over

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Tue 7 November // 20:00

Tickets: £5 (full) / £4 (concession)

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This cheerfully blasphemous and homoerotic modern take on the life of Saint Anthony won Portuguese visionary João Pedro Rodrigues Best Director at Locarno Film Festival. 

The Ornithologist follows a man’s journey on a remote river in Portugal in search of rare birds. When his kayak capsizes, he is saved by two Christian Chinese women on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. They are but the first of a cast of strange characters who will engage him in a transformational spiritual and metaphysical journey through sprawling, often psychedelic forests.  Like a queer companion piece to Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent, Rodrigues’s exotic, pastoral meditation on landscape, ethnography, and personal transcendence is a visually ravishing, profoundly hypnotic experience.

“An extraordinarily rich, unpredictable fever-dream, a pilgrimage film that sits somewhere alongside Buñuel’s The Milky Way (1969), Jarman’s Sebastiane (1976) and Powell and Pressburger’s A Canterbury Tale (1944) with its fusion of religious iconography and sexual and spiritual anguish, coupled with a palpable reverence for the mysterious cross-currents of the natural world.” -Sight & Sound

“It’s Rodrigues’ most thoroughly realized movie yet because he has the thematic and cinematic space to work out his ideas, and most importantly, he completely embraces the wonders and possibilities of storytelling, storytelling of the oldest kind, storytelling before plot points and third acts.” -Cinema Scope

“This spellbinding new work from Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues offers a cheerfully blasphemous take on the life of St. Anthony of Padua, recast here as a handsome bird watcher whose latest wilderness excursion takes several frightening, erotic and hilariously surreal turns.” -The Los Angeles Times

“Calling to mind the best of Buñuel and Apichatpong, THE ORNITHOLOGIST adopts a dream logic that never begs for decoding, a sensuous engagement with the world that asks only to be experienced. As if to render the notion of intelligibility quaint, Fernando’s encounters repeatedly heighten the threshold for communication, whether by…. thwarting the very possibility of verbal exchange or by evoking the mysterious ways in which creatures of heaven and earth make contact across their estrangement.” -Film Comment

Doors open 30 minutes before film start time.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office