It is important to notice, that this work is very controversial. This film received not only standing ovations in cinemas, but also many people were already leaving during screenings because of disconcert.
What is it all about?
Parents, trying to protect their child against Jewish genocide are sending their son to their relatives somewhere to the countryside in the Eastern Europe. But the boy’s aunt unexpectedly dies, and the boy is left alone. He is forced to set off for a journey through wild and unfriendly world, where rules only prejudice and superstitions. His struggle for physical survival is changed after war to another kind of fight. Fight for his soul, his future. Fight he himself is unaware of. The Painted Bird is deep dramatical story about relationship between cruelty and innocence, terror and love. It is the first and most famous novel by writer of “Pinball” and “Being There” - one of the most prominent and significant authors of 20th century, Jerzy Kosińsky.
As I have written in the beginning, I completely understand why weak nature audience left in the middle of the film. I wouldn’t recommend this film for audience under 15, even though there is no brutality. Most of violence takes place out of screen. For some people this maybe even worse than watching a horror film, but if you watch this film with calm head and without prejudice that this work already raised, you will discover that this is just a pure drama and absolutely perfect film. Directing, screenplay, camera, acting - everything is unbelievably great.
The Painted Bird is a monumental work, polished to the smallest detail by it’s director Vaclav Marhoul, who presents something completely new and unrepeatable in the context of Czechoslovakian cinematography. This applies even in comparison with Oscar awarded works like Kolja and Closely Watched Trains. The Painted Bird will be always better.
The film had a budget of 180 million Crowns (approximately 7,2 million dollars). For audience it is very difficult to predict the storyline, which is like a twisting and provoking branch. Questions which force you to think are always arising. Not because it is something difficult to understand, but because you just need more answers. It took 11 years of preparations to make this film worldwide known. I still can’t believe it is film made in the Czech Republic.
It is very difficult to describe this film or to write a review, because this is something you have to see for yourself to evaluate it’s qualities.
You will find out, that slogan of this film “Light can be seen only in the darkness” is very accurate.