Sick Birds Die Easy should win an award for the most gonzo film of this year’s festival. A group of artists sets out for Gabon, which they believe to be not only the cradle of civilisation, but the biblical Garden of Eden. They are searching for a mythical plant, the Iboga, which has strong psychotropic properties and has played a central role for generations in the mystical rituals of the Bwiti as well as frees users from other addictions. After a three-day ceremony involving drifting through space with breaks for vomiting, spiritual and physical purity is finally within reach. This curative power makes trudging on foot through the jungle to find the plant worthwhile. What happens during the expedition resembles the hallucinations of Hunter S. Thompson shown on reality TV – a volatile toxic social mixture, a camera that never stops filming and a diet consisting of grass, acid and opiates. In searching for spirituality and a life of sobriety, these ‘sick birds’ are doomed to fail, as inevitably as the clash between their Western worldview and the African mysticism they are unable to penetrate. And although this is not a stricte film about art, it certainly provides a contemporary image of cultural conflict – as befits Eden – the loss of innocence.
American director Nicholas Facklerwas born and still resides in Nebraska. His film debut, Lovely, Still starring Ellen Burstyn and Martin Landau, was nominated in 2008 for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. His film career began during adolescence with filming of music videos for, among others Azure Ray, Bright Eses, The Good Life and Icky Blossoms, a band in which he also plays.
2008 Witaj, miłości / Lovely, Still
2013 Chore ptaki umierają łatwo / Sick Birds Die Easy (doc.)