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The Ornithologist

João Pedro Rodrigues
O Ornitólogo
Portugal, France, Brazil 2016 / 118’
Spring Equinox The Party

The eponymous ornithologist Fernando (played by French actor Paul Hamy) is going on a field trip to observe a rare species of birds in northern Portugal. The serenity of his solo journey is shattered when he meets two threatening Chinese women on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Everything starts to slip out of Fernando's control and, under the influence of events reminiscent of the life of St. Anthony of Padua (the director has already made a short film about the Catholic saint, Manhã de Santo António), he opens up to the unexplained. In a visually striking film shot in CinemaScope format,The Ornithologist combines mysticism and homoeroticism, the sacred and the profane, danger and humor. With his fifth full-length feature, João Pedro Rodrigues cements himself as one of the most interesting filmmakers currently working in Portugal's incessantly surprising and inspiring film industry, a fact that was also confirmed by the jury at the Locarno Festival, which gave Rodrigues the award for best director for The Ornithologist.

Adam Kruk

João Pedro Rodrigues

João Pedro Rodrigues was born in 1966 in Lisbon, where he first studied Biology (he wanted to become an ornithologist) and then Film. From his full-length debut, O Fantasma, which was screened in Venice, through to his award-winning The Ornithologist, his films have always been characterized by sensuality, with a wealth of artistic references. Rodrigues's closest collaborator is scriptwriter and set designer-and occasional co-director-João Rui Guerra da Mata, with whom he made The Last Time I Saw Macao, which was shown at the 13th New Horizons International Film Festival.

Selected filmography

1988 O Pastor (short)

2000 O Fantasma / Phantom

2005 Odete / Two Drifters

2009 Morrer Como Um Homem / To Die Like a Man

2012 Gdy ostatni raz widziałem Macao / A Última Vez Que Vi Macau / The Last Time I Saw Macao (co-dir.)

2016 Ornitolog / O Ornitólogo / The Ornithologist

Cast & Crew

director João Pedro Rodrigues
screenplay João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata
cinematography Rui Poças
editing Raphaël Lefèvre
music Séverine Ballon
cast Paul Hamy, Xelo Cagiao, João Pedro Rodrigues, Han Wen, Chan Suan, Juliane Elting
producer João Figueiras, Diogo Varela Silva, Vincent Wang, Antoine Barraud, Gustavo Ángel, Alex García, Maria Fernanda Scardino
production Blackmaria, House on Fire, Itaca Films, Le Fresnoy
sales Films Boutique
language Portuguese, English, Mandarin, Mirandese, Latin
colouration colour