The Bird (12A)


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The Independent Culture

Yves Caumon's character study, reminiscent of the Dardennes' patient scrutiny, conducts us through the lonesome existence of a Bordelaise kitchen worker.

Anne (Sandrine Kiberlain) gets along in a kind of fugue of detachment, shunning the romantic overtures of a co-worker (Clement Sibony) and freezing out her ex (Bruno Todeschini).

Her only emotional release is watching old Mizoguchi films at the local rep cinema. Then at last she finds congenial company – a pigeon that's been scratching away behind the wainscoting in her flat. What has happened to make this woman so insular and unyielding?

Caumon's camera stays close to his star, looking for clues in her seldom-changing expression and almost wincing at the way she rebuffs every opportunity to connect.

His feeling for place, for the anonymous streets of Bordeaux and the slowly winding Garonne river, casts a peculiar kind of spell – a Keatsian vision of transience.

Kiberlain lends a mysterious charisma to Anne, haunting her own life, and in a co-starring role the pigeon does creditable work, too.