Portuguese American Journal

Film: ‘The Metamorphosis of Birds’ directed by Catarina Vasconcelos – Lincoln Center

The movie The Metamorphosis of Birds (2020) [A Metamorfose dos Pássaros] by Portuguese film producer and director Catarina Vasconcelos will be screened at the 49th annual New Directors/New Films sponsored by the Lincoln Center.

The event, celebrating international emerging film-makers, has brought previously little-known talents like Spike Lee, Wong Kar-wai, Steven Spielberg, Claire Denis, Pedro Almodóvar, and Marielle Heller, to wider audiences.

Vasconcelos’ film was world premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2020, where it was awarded the FIPRESCI Award for Best Film at the Encounters Section.  Since its debut, The Metamorphosis of Birds has collected several prestigious awards in various film festivals abroad.

With international distribution, by Portugal Filme, The Metamorphosis of Birds is scheduled to debut in Portugal in the first quarter of 2021. 

The narrative is a cross between documentary and fiction inspired by family memories. Available for the first time via the FLC Virtual Cinema, the film runs nationwide between December 15 and December 20. In Portuguese with English subtitles, The Metamorphosis of Birds (101 min.) is available for rental here.

Special affiliate offer: Save 20% on th49th New Directors/New Films in the Film at Lincoln Center Virtual Cinema! Instructions: Create your account and explore the festival lineup here. Click here to access the all-Access Bundle, hover over the thumbnail, click “Rent,” and enter promo code: NDNF20.  For more information about the festival lineup: https://www.filmlinc.org/festivals/new-directors-new-films-2020

A highly unorthodox documentary that has the feel of a precious heirloom, this impressionistic yet emotionally rich film finds Portuguese filmmaker Catarina Vasconcelos sifting through the memories and dreams of her ancestors. In prismatic images, richly shot on 16mm film, we get the sense of a family’s entire lineage, starting with her naval officer grandfather, Henrique, who married her grandmother, Beatriz, on her 21st birthday; he then spent extended periods at sea, leaving her with an expanding brood of children. This is the beginning of a generational saga, told in shards of memory and voiceover. ‘The Metamorphosis of Birds’ achingly evokes the natural world—the changing seasons, the play of sunlight, the ever-flowing tides, and the plant and animal life—that counterbalances and nurtures human life cycles.

Catarina Vasconcelos (Lisbon, 1986) graduated from Lisbon’s Fine Art Academy before moving to London, where she pursued an MA at the Royal College of Art. She is also known for The Metaphor or Sadness Inside Out (2014) and Pária (2013).

PAJ/Staff

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