Albert Serra: An Accidental Theologian

  • MUBI
Above: Birdsong.

At the outset of Albert Serra's Birdsong (2008), the Three Wise Men, caught in a sudden rainstorm and retreating into a cave to wait it out peruse the boulders around them. One of the Magi declares, “If you look close enough, you can see a lot of things. Sometimes what we see is so beautiful it petrifies us,” perfectly, if unwittingly, encapsulating the director’s method of operation. As the trio literally dissolves into a backdrop of majestic landscapes, the Biblical plot also withdraws from the foreground: a maneuver not unfamiliar to those who have seen Serra’s previous feature, Quixotic/Honor de Cavelleria (2006), a less than faithful adaptation of de Cervantes's Don Quixote. Calling it an adaptation, however, should be taken with a grain of salt insofar as Serra deliberately emptied the canonical chivalric novel of all its contents save the two lonely souls at its core,
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