A bird-watching expedition becomes a journey of religious self-discovery in Portuguese filmmaker Joao Pedro Rodrigues’ allegorical “The Ornithologist,” which, if nothing else, will have the adventurous viewer considering a nature trip to Portugal.A film not to be taken in the literal sense — as per the magical realism of Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s work — ornithologist Fernando (Paul Hamy) is captured by two Chinese religious zealots, frolics with a shepherd named Jesus, encounters topless huntresses on horseback and experiences both death and resurrection.Journeys into hearts of darkness in exotic locales has become time-honored storytelling — “The Ornithologist” conjured up flashbacks in my mind to James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” from a couple of months back, even though the approach of those two films couldn’t be more different — and Rodrigues’ lush visuals of the vast forests and rivers of Portugal are inviting.The ruggedly handsome Hamy, a French actor, is appealing, but Fernando’s character doesn’t evolve or transform much, despite all the weird stuff happening to him (and one interpretation of the film could be that this is all a delirious delusion on a bipolar Fernando’s part — there is an early scene, before cell phone coverage cuts out, of Fernando assuring a friend that he has taken his medication).Perhaps one day Rodrigues will turn his considerable talent and unique approach to a portrait of the real-life St. Anthony, in the way that Roberto Rossellini paid tribute to his hero in “The Flowers of St. Francis.”G. Allen Johnson is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
NYS Entity Status
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FOREIGN BUSINESS CORPORATION
2014 - JB BRITCHES, INC.
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