94 minutes, France, 2011, Colour, D-Cinema

Positioned somewhere between an insight into and a meditation on the lasting repercussions of grief, Yves Caumon’s The Bird is a subtle but resonant exercise in simplicity and restraint. Having established an interest in the female perspective in Les filles de mon pays (winner of the Prix Jean Vigo, 2000), Caumon continues in this vein, focussing here on Anne, a solitary and enigmatic figure who we gradually learn has suffered unspeakable loss. Played with masterful sensitivity by Sandrine Kiberlain, this mostly silent central role is fleshed out as much through the observation of the habits and routines our protagonist conducts at home and at work, as through her often illicit excursions, not least one that begins with a poignant cinema trip to see Mizoguchi’s The Life of Oharu.

The bird of the title, a docile pigeon which Anne rescues and looks after in her apartment, elicits a positive engagement with the natural world, thereby offering the timely possibility for revival and renewal. (Notes by Alice Butler.)

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