Woodpecker | Chicago Reader


The grail of American birdwatchers, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was believed extinct until a recent spate of unverified sightings around the depressed bayou town of Brinkley, Arkansas, gave conservationists new hope. This moderately engaging feature by Alex Karpovsky (The Hole Story) blends real and fabricated documentary elements to explore both practical and poetic implications of the bird's possible survival. An interpolated fiction about a wounded mope (Jon Hyrns) on an existential quest to find the bird plays like a low-key mash-up of Christopher Guest and Werner Herzog, but it's simply not as interesting as the interviews with genuine townsfolk, who have variously benefited and suffered from the bird's impact on the local economy. 87 min.

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