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The Painted Bird Unclassified 18+

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Viewer advice: Contains high-impact violence, high-impact sexual violence, and themes of animal cruelty


This winner of multiple Czech Lion awards as well as Venice’s UNICEF Award is a stunning, utterly harrowing indictment of humanity at its worst.

An adaptation of Jerzy Kosiński’s controversial 1965 novel of the same name, The Painted Bird follows a young boy’s journey through Europe’s war-ravaged amoral heartland. Sold into slavery, accused of being a vampire and buried alive, he finds himself either witness or victim to all manner of savage violence. And yet glimmers of kindness and hope assuage the child’s descent into this living nightmare, paving the way for one of the most breathtaking and morally complex cinematic experiences of the year.

In his third feature, director Václav Marhoul utilises the talents of multi-award-winning cinematographer Vladimír Smutný (Kolya), whose incredible black-and-white 35mm footage transforms the unrelenting parade of depredations and degradations into something sublime. Newcomer Petr Kotlár turns in a remarkable performance as the unnamed boy, supported by a sterling cast that includes Udo Kier, Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgård and Julian Sands. Marhoul also opted to use a constructed language, Interslavic, to dissociate the onscreen horrors from any actual nation, yet the message is clear: the carnage of war debases all equally.

“A monumental piece of work … Marhoul spins a war-torn history into a phantasmagorical horror.” – The Guardian

In Cinema

Thu 19 Aug 8:45 pm [11371]
The Painted Bird (169 mins)
ACMI 1
Assisted ListeningWheelchair Access100% Subtitles Subtitles
Past event
Sat 21 Aug 6:00 pm [15481]
The Painted Bird (169 mins)
ACMI 1
Assisted ListeningWheelchair Access
Past event
This session is bookable on a pass

For more venue information and for information about accessible services provided at MIFF this year, please go to miff.com.au/access.

To ensure that MIFF can provide you with the best customer service, if you require any accessibility services that MIFF offers at any MIFF venues, please book your ticket by emailing boxoffice@miff.com.au or by phone on 03 9087 3395.

Key Cast
Aleksey Kravchenko, Barry Pepper, Harvey Keitel, Jitka Cvancarova, Julian Sands, Lech Dyblik, Petr Kotlár, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier
Director
Václav Marhoul
Producer
Václav Marhoul
Screenwriter
Václav Marhoul
Cinematographer
Vladimír Smutný
Editor
Ludek Hudec
Format
Digital
Company Credit
Distributor: Hi Gloss Entertainment

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