Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Three Kings

El cant dels ocells/Birdsong (2008) - Serra
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Albert Serra's minimalistic approach to a semi-literary figures doesn't really concern itself with its subjects much. The star of his films are its surroundings - the changing weather, drifting clouds that casts shadows upon what's below, the light and darkness. Shot on beautiful black and white, Birdsong tells a story about three kings crossing the desert and sea to pay tribute to the birth of the son of god. On their way, they complain about the rocky terrain and uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. Since everything is shot outside, Serra completely depends on the daylight. When the sun goes down, we can hardly make out the three figures. It's like Three Studges road trip on foot, only the presence of a short haired angel in cassock reminds everyone that this is the story of biblical Three Kings. Once they get to their destination, at the foot of Mary and the humble stone house in nowhere, the music swells, giving some sort of energy. But it dies down. Joseph says something about fleeing to Egypt before the Romans come, and it's time to go home for the trio. They talk about their absurd dreams in the woods while angels watch down from a tree. Beautiful, delightfully minimalistic, Albert Serra is one of a kind filmmaker.