Birdsongs | Chicago Reader

Birdsongs

Spanish experimental filmmaker Albert Serra (Honor de Cavalleria) recasts the journey of the magi as mirthless existential comedy, with Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar wandering haplessly through the desert in search of the Christ child. Shot in the Canary Islands, the film is most enjoyable for its dramatic black-and-white landscape photography, with extended long shots of the three kings tramping across limitless white sands and threading their way through savage rock formations. The asceticism is so severe that when the magi finally prostrate themselves before Jesus, and Serra busts out a cello piece by Pablo Casals, the moment is genuinely moving. In Catalan and Hebrew with subtitles. 98 min.

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