BIRDY

USA, 1984 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Alan Parker

Birdy is a unique portrait of an unusual friendship, adapted from William Wharton's freewheeling and surreal novel which was lauded both for its strong anti-war statement and its male bonding drama between Birdy and his friend Al. Birdy, whose most frequent desire in life is to defy gravity and fly, is a shy, retiring dreamer residing in a Veterans' Hospital -a war casualty, unwilling to communicate and adopting bird-like postures. Al, scarred with major facial wounds, is summoned to the hospital by an Army psychiatrist to see if he can help his seemingly catatonic friend. Flashbacks reveal the boys' backgrounds and the development of their interdependent friendship in the working class suburbs of Philadelphia. The novel's Second World War background has been updated to the Vietnam conflict of the 1960's.

”Director Alan Parker has achieved his personal best. He has turned an ordinarily bleak Philadelphia location into something akin to the Prince of Darkness' castle. He has made his principal character, who might have been just another teen angel, into a complex figure, comical and a little dangerous. He has finally transcended realism by traducing it. His movie does what Birdy himself cannot quite manage. It defies gravity, convention and category and gets away with it.

Richard Schickel, Time

Birdy attempts the almost impossible: to change an almost surreal novel's interior monologues and descriptions into vibrant screen action. And, through an inventive adaptation, and the passion and precision of Modine's and Cage's beautifully sustained performances, it may well have succeeded.”

Sheila Benson, New York Times


See also...

Corduroy

The film follows the adventures of a stuffed teddy bear called Corduroy who waits to be selected from the shelves of a department store. Lest he be mistaken for used property, he embarks on a quest to... More »

Go For It, Mike

A parody of a video clip. Mike, stylishly dressed and dapper, moves ... quasl-nonchalantly like a star through a wild west environment. As a Malboro cowboy, Mike ridicules the seamless soulless video ... More »

HOME OF THE BRAVE

Documentary exploring contemporary problems facing Indians of North and South America. The effects of modernisation on an ancient culture are documented exclusively through the eyes of Indians themsel... More »

AMERICA AND LEWIS HINE

Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940) was pioneer of social photography in the USA. From 1910-1940 he took about 15,000 photos, above all portraits of workers: his images of a steel worker on the Empire State... More »

Harold of Orange

A satiric comedy which explores the symbiotic relationship between Native Americans and philanthropic foundations. The screenplay draws on trickster myths common to many Native American tribes to disp... More »

Sprout Wings and Fly

There are no naked women in Les Blank's film, but the music is equally good. It is a touching tribute to Appalachian culture in the form of a profile of the legendary mountain fiddler, Tommy Jarrell -... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director