The Painted Bird
Directed by: Václav Marhoul
Czech Republic/Slovakia/Ukrain, 2019, 169m
In Czech, German, Russian, and Latin with English Subtitles
Based on the acclaimed Jerzy Kosinski novel, The Painted Bird is a meticulous black-and-white evocation of wild, primitive Eastern Europe at the bloody close of World War II. The film follows the journey of The Boy (Petr Kotlae), entrusted by his persecuted parents to an elderly foster mother. The old woman soon dies, and The Boy is left on his own, wandering through the countryside, from village to village, farmhouse to farmhouse. As he struggles for survival, The Boy suffers through extraordinary brutality meted out by ignorant and superstitious peasants, and he witnesses the terrifying violence of efficient, ruthless soldiers, both Russian and German. An emotional gut-punch of a film, this Czech entry for the 2020 Academy Awards® is a powerhouse drama about the loss of innocence in the midst of unfathomable conflict. Featuring brilliant supporting performances from Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgård, Harvey Keitel, Julian Sands, and Barry Pepper, The Painted Bird will leave you both shocked and moved by its bleak but hopeful journey.