The Bird Catcher
Cert: TBC Year: 2019 Length: 100 mins Language: English
Set in Norway in 1942, 'The Bird Catcher' follows the life of a young Jewish girl, Esther, after her father has been arrested by the Nazis. Her safe, middle class life falls apart and she is forced to go on the run to survive. She ends up in the middle of nowhere on a farm owned by Johan, a Nazi sympathiser, where she tries to remain unrecognized. Her only real friend is the farmer's son, Aksel, who knows the truth. Aksel suffers from cerebral palsy and has been taught by his father that Jews are not people, but as he gets to know her he begins to identify with her; he too is not accepted for who he is...
The film's writer, Trond Morten Kristensen, started writing the script in 2003 as he thought the Norwegian collaboration with the Nazis was being overlooked - 760 Jews were deported from Norway, whilst 900 survived by escaping to neutral Sweden. The story was picked up by the producer Lisa Black in 2008, but has only just been completed.
As Lauren Bray says in the Santa Barbara Film Festival review, "The backdrop produces stunning winter images of coastal Norway near the Swedish border. The snow-frosted forests and idyllic countryside provide a nice juxtaposition to the suspense and fear the characters experience. The audience provided several audible gasps through every twist and turn in the plot.
The film is powerful and engaging, displaying deep loss due to war as well as forgiveness and redemption. It shows Esther's cunning and determination to survive in a world that doesn't want her to".
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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.
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