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The Metamorphosis of Birds
Institute of Contemporary Arts
The Metamorphosis of Birds, dir. Catarina Vasconcelos, Portugal 2020, 101 min., Portuguese with English subtitles

The much-praised winner of numerous awards and festivals around the world, including the FIPRESCI Award for Best Film in the Encounters section at the 70th Berlinale, the first feature-length film by Portuguese artist–director Catarina Vasconcelos is an impressionistic, rich and beautiful exploration of life, loss, family and memory.

Henrique was a naval officer by trade, spending huge stretches of his working life away at sea. Long retired, he’s moving into a residential care home to see out his days. Beatriz married Henrique on her 21st birthday, but Henrique’s travels meant Beatriz was left to raise their children largely alone. Beatriz and Henrique were Catarina Vasconcelos’ grandparents – and in shards of memory and voiceover, achingly evocative of the natural world, Vasconcelos sifts through their memories and dreams to tell a generational saga.
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