The Ornithologist

This cheerfully blasphemous and homoerotic modern take on the life of Saint Anthony won Portuguese visionary João Pedro Rodrigues (To Die Like a Man, SFF 2010) Best Director at Locarno.

Quick history lesson: Lisbon-born Saint Anthony was canonised in 1232. He is the patron saint of many things including lost items and travel hostesses. Here, he's Fernando (Paul Hamy), an ornithologist studying storks in the wilderness. The first of many strange characters to cross Fernando's path are two devout Chinese female pilgrims who've strayed off the Camino de Santiago trail and stay long enough to tie him up in bondage ropes. The agony and the ecstasy, indeed. What follows is a queer and surreal, visually stupendous and frequently hilarious journey in which Fernando's story gradually transforms into that of Saint Anthony. Rodrigues puts on a dazzling display of no-holds-barred arthouse cinema.

An extraordinarily rich, unpredictable fever-dream, a pilgrimage film that sits somewhere alongside Buñuel's The Milky Way (1969), Jarman's Sebastiane (1976) and Powell and Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (1944) with its fusion of religious iconography and sexual and spiritual anguish. – Tom Charity, Sight & Sound

Mind-blowing in the best possible way. – Eric Cohn, Indiewire


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João Pedro Rodrigues

Portugal, France, Brazil

118 mins

Portuguese, Mandarin, Mirandese and Latin with English subtitles

O Ornitólogo



João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata

João Figueiras, Diogo Varela Silva, Vincent Wang, Antoine Barraud, Gustavo Ángel, Alex García, Maria Fernanda Scardino

Rui Poças aip

Raphaël Lefèvre

Paul Hamy, Xelo Cagiao, João Pedro Rodrigues

Festival Award Winners, Features, Queer Interest, Experimental, Religion & Belief

Distributor: Sharmill Films