Director: Catarina Vasconcelos
Cast: Manuel Rosa, João Móra, Ana Vasconcelos
Genre: Hybrid Documentary
101 minutes – Portuguese with English subtitles – 2020
‘When we forget a person who has died, they die for a second time’ – this is what Catarina Vasconcelos tries to prevent with her very bold and unorthodox form of story-telling in The Metamorphosis of Birds. It is an extraordinary homage to her family in which Vasconcelos sifts through the memories and dreams of her ancestors. Unfolding as a generational saga, told in shards of memory and voiceover, this eloquent and exquisitely shot dramatized documentary demonstrates how something deeply personal can be profoundly universal.
Along with notching up over 20 notable festival wins The Metamorphosis of Birds won five awards at the Portuguese Film Academy Sophia Awards in 2022, included Best Director and Best Documentary Feature. The film was Portugal’s submission to the 94th Academy Awards earlier this year. The Metamorphosis of Birds also has an exceptional 100% rating on the renowned Rotten Tomatoes film review aggregator.
This poetic and personal work is concerned with the power of meticulous and sensitive observation.
Ayeen Forootan, In Review Online
An astonishing piece of art, beautifully composed images, each one like a painting itself, a perfect symphony of all things that is cinema.
A remembering that is seeing, and a seeing that is remembering.
Miguel Muñoz Garnica, El antepenúltimo mohicano
This debut feature by Portuguese writer-director Catarina Vasconcelos is an inventive, boldly imagistic piece that marks its creator as an original, deeply thoughtful talent.
Jonathan Romney, Screen International
It’s rare that you are simply overcome by beauty and you weep intensely because of it. This film is a symphony and perfect choreography of words, images, sounds and universal feelings – I cannot grasp the immensity of what this film has risen in me.