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The Ornithologist(O Ornitólogo)

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Portugal, France, Brazil · 2016
1h 58m
Director João Pedro Rodrigues
Starring Paul Hamy, Xelo Cagiao, Jules Elting, Flora Bulcão
Genre Adventure, Drama

Fernando is a 35 year-old ornithologist looking for rare black storks along a river in Portugal. He is soon caught up in the rapids as his boat capsizes, causing him to end up on a riverbank, eventually rescued by two Chinese women. Fernando’s journey back home is through a mysterious forest full of surreal experiences.

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What are critics saying?


Paste Magazine by

There are times during João Pedro Rodrigues’s newest film, The Ornithologist, wherein you can’t tell if it’s all a big sexy joke or if it’s an earnest, religious and intellectual inquiry into the boundaries of spiritual and physical adventure. There’s enough evidence in the argue that it’s both.


CineVue by Ben Nicholson

It's a film swimming in symbolism, transgressive eroticism and perplexing details that will infuriate some audiences but for others will add to its irresistible allure.


The Hollywood Reporter by Boyd van Hoeij

Though clearly not a proposition for either devout Christians or audiences for whom the multiplex is a temple, this is the kind of take-no-prisoners art house fare that advances and deepens the understanding of a singular director’s oeuvre as a whole.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Mind-blowing in the best possible way, The Ornithologist may not work for everyone, but those willing to embrace its puzzling ingredients will find a rewarding solution: further confirmation of a genuine film artist.


The Film Stage by Ethan Vestby

It’s clear the film may be a goof on Rodrigues’ part, but good thing it’s at least funny enough to not just sustain, but build its laughs to the very end.


The New York Times by Glenn Kenny

Mr. Rodrigues ultimately delivers an intriguing, daring film that is likely to surprise both his fans and moviegoers unfamiliar with his work.


The A.V. Club by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

Perhaps The Ornithologist lends itself so well to scholarly unpacking because it has too little of its own to offer. Maybe it’s healthier to just enjoy the light bouncing from the water to Hamy’s abs.


Village Voice by Melissa Anderson

Though full of mysteries, and, like all of Rodrigues’s work, consistently unpredictable from scene to scene, The Ornithologist may be the director’s most conventional narrative.


Movie Nation by Roger Moore

The Ornithologist is so stunningly strange and out of its time that this slow and deliberate film holds your attention, making you wonder what wonder or calamity will befall Fernando next.

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