Bird People DVD Review

     Actors: Josh Charles, Anaïs Demoustier, Roschdy Zem, Taklyt Vongdara
  • Director: Pascale Ferran
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: January 13, 2015
  • Run Time: 128 minutes


            Bird People is an unexpected delight; a true example of the pure spirit of what independent cinema is meant to be. Somehow after a few decades of Sundance Film Festivals and the original daring spirit that first created the market for independently produced cinema, the storyline for many of the films are so predictable that an argument could be made that it has simply become another genre. These dialogue-dominant narratives offer few surprises in story, most often merely showcasing the talents of the filmmaker and/or their leading cast members. You could easily find common threads in plot, creating sub-genres for road-trip films or family dysfunction, and suddenly these formula-heavy stories no longer carry the subversive spirit of independent cinema; they merely appear to be films too small for the franchise-crazed film industry to bother with.


            For the first half of the film, Bird People often feels as though it will slip into the genre of independent cinema at any moment. The narrative is slow-paced, involving two melancholy characters sure to eventually meet. One can imagine the pitfalls of predicable independent choices in the self indulgent storyline about a businessman holed up in an airport hotel in Paris after suddenly quitting his job, especially when the other leading character is a maid from the hotel. One can imagine it turning into a lower budget Lost in Translation rip-off, until the film takes a sudden turn into the fantastical.


            Josh Charles (“Sports Night”) stars as Gary Newman, a Silicon Valley engineer and family man who suddenly decides to abandon his entire life on an important business trip in Paris. Audrey Camuzet (Anaïs Demoustier) is an unhappy maid working in Gary’s hotel. She tells everyone that she is in college, but this seems more likely to be an excuse she uses whenever needed. This dissatisfaction paired with an odd curiosity for what Gary is doing eventually leads to an unexpected magical situation that provides the film with some of the most thoughtful material and masterful filmmaking.


            This is a film better experienced than explained, and the particularly surprising twist in the plot leaves me little to discuss about the sequences that I admired the most. Many will find the 128-minute running time daunting, but despite the film’s slow start, it is time spent with the characters for the impact of the film’s final act. The DVD special features only contain a trailer.


    Entertainment Value: 7.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10

    Historical Significance:  6/10

    Special Features: 1.5/10



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