The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird

Vaclav Marhoul (2019)

169min
18 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
A young boy is left to fend for himself in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe in this stunning wartime drama from Czech director Vaclav Marhoul. Adapted from a 1965 novel by Jerzy Kosinski (a Bafta winner for Being There), it's a riveting journey for Petr Kotlar's stoic youngster as he attempts to navigate and survive a ravaged land where the cruelty of superstitious peasants, Nazi brutes and Julian Sands's abusive recluse is only leavened by acts of kindness from a German soldier (Stellan Skarsgård), a well-meaning priest (Harvey Keitel) and a Soviet sniper (Barry Pepper). However, this epic odyssey, beautifully shot in crisp monochrome, is also a gruelling one for the audience. Not since Elem Klimov's searing Come and See (1985) has a child's-eye view of war been so stark and unsparing. Yet, thanks to a mesmerising performance from Kotlar, you are never less than gripped by his torturous frights of passage.

Cast & Crew

Joska Petr Kotlar
Hans Stellan Skarsgård
Priest Harvey Keitel
Miller Udo Kier
Mitka Barry Pepper
Garros Julian Sands
Director Vaclav Marhoul
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Other Information

Language: Czech, German, Russian, Latin +subtitlesBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Eureka EntertainmentReleased on: 11 Sep 2020