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Slamdance 2021: “Birdland”


Source: MUBI.COM

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If there’s something we avoid thinking about it’s what will happen to us minutes or hours before we depart this world. Not a nice thought to have in mind, is it? Watching certain films also does not help, as it cinematically transports the audience to the place in which we have no choice but to face the inevitability of a character’s fate; frankly, the images of it we wish our eyes would never gaze at.

Mr. Nakao is too old and sick to look after himself. As he thinks of dying, he shows no interest in anything else. Seemingly there is nothing that can make him happy but to look for a way to shorten his time on earth. But after the visit of his caretaker, Ishida, when the snow starts to fall, it brings to him a sweet memory of the past that will certainly warm up his day and fulfil his day.

“Birdland”, written and directed by Takeshi Kogahara, is a beautifully shot short narrative that captures an intimacy of a man who, perhaps, does not have many days to live, even though it’s just our assumption. He has a son who did not visit him as intended. “Have you had a fight with him again?” asks Ishida as she tenderly and carefully washes him up, we see a very vulnerable man that gave up on everything. The subtle approach to him by Kogahara generates enormous respect, as his memory starts playing with him a trick, after the snowfall which will bring, most certainly, a smile to your face.

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