Based on the acclaimed Jerzy Kosiriski novel, THE PAINTED BIRD is a meticulous 35mm black and white evocation of wild, primitive Eastern Europe at the bloody close of World War II. The film follows the journey of The Boy, entrusted by his persecuted parents to an elderly foster mother. The old woman soon dies and the Boy is on his own, wandering through the countryside, from village to village, farmhouse to farmhouse. As he struggles for survival, The Boy suffers through extraordinary brutality meted out by the ignorant, superstitious peasants and he witnesses the terrifying violence of the efficient, ruthless soldiers, both Russian and German. In a defining scene, one of the peasants shows The Boy the flight of a captive bird, whom the man has painted and then released back into its own flock. The bird is immediately ripped apart because it is different from its fellows. That lesson reinforces all The Boy already knows and will soon know better: difference is fatal. But there are rare moments of compassion: a German soldier spares The Boy, a priest intervenes on his behalf, and finally The Boy becomes the protege of a Russian sniper, who is kind to the child, but ruthless with the enemy. And there are signs of love. The Boy is seduced by an older girl, finally re-discovering the comfort of intimacy, only to realize that he has been used. When he is miraculously reunited with his weakened father at the end of the war, The Boy is cold and impenetrable, hardened by his ordeal. Yet we can still glimpse something of the old, sensitive Boy behind the eyes of the new. Perhaps there is hope.

  • Jul 17, 2020
  • Drama

Cast & Crew

  • Stellan SkarsgardActor

  • Udo KierActor

  • LECH DYBLIKActor

  • PETR KOTLARActor

  • Barry PepperActor

    Barry Robert Pepper was born on April 4, 1970, in Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada. He has two older brothers named Alex and Doug Pepper. The Peppers didn't stick around Campbell River for too long. They had been building a ship in their backyard for years. When Barry was five years old, the ship was done and the family set sail. The ship, named "The Moonlighter," was a 50-foot craft that would be their home for the next five years. They navigated through the South Pacific islands, using only a sextant and the stars as guides. While visiting such exotic locales as Fiji and Tahiti, Barry was educated through correspondence courses and sometimes enrolled in public schools. He grew up around Polynesian children and credits them for his love of dance, music and other expressive arts. Barry had plenty of time to practice his newfound loves, too. Without television as entertainment on the ship, the family relied on games and sketch acting for fun. When the five-year cruise was over, the Peppers returned to their native Canada, where they set up shop on a small island off the West Coast near Vancouver. They built a farm on the outskirts of a small artists' town, which was populated mainly by hippies, poets, musicians and other craftsmen. While in high school, Barry was enthusiastic about art and excelled in sports. In addition to playing volleyball, he was an excellent rugby player. He graduated in 1988 from George P. Vanier High School in Courtenay and then enrolled in college and majored in marketing and graphic design, but after getting involved with the Vancouver Actors Studio, he changed his course. Once again, he was using "the stars" to navigate. Barry landed his first role on Madison (1993) (a sort of Canadian 90210) and other prominent television series before moving on to more prestigious roles in the US. Television movies followed, most notably the mini-series Titanic (1996), which costarred George C. Scott. Still, Barry's career really wasn't taking off. He was a hard-working actor, but not a star. That all changed in 1998. After a string of big screen duds, Pepper obtained his breakthrough role as a Bible-quoting sniper in Steven Spielberg's WW II drama Saving Private Ryan (1998). With the success of the film came sudden stardom for its cast--complete with photo spreads, interviews and even some Oscar buzz. Barry followed the film with a small but noteworthy role in the blockbuster, Enemy of the State (1998) opposite Will Smith and Gene Hackman. Next he co-starred in an Oscar-worthy film starring Tom Hanks: Stephen King's The Green Mile (1999). Barry received much critical acclaim in 2001 for his portrayal of Roger Maris in the made-for-cable drama about the 1961 home run race between Maris and Mickey Mantle called 61* (2001).
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  • Harvey KeitelActor

    American actor and producer Harvey Keitel was born on May 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York City, to Miriam (Klein) and Harry Keitel. An Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominee, he has appeared in films such as Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973) and Taxi Driver (1976), Ridley Scott's The Duellists (1977) and Thelma & Louise (1991), Peter Yates' Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976), Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994), Jane Campion's The Piano (1993), Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant (1992), Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), James Mangold's Cop Land (1997), Paolo Sorrentino's Youth (2015). He is regarded as one of the greatest method actors ever. Along with actors Al Pacino and Ellen Burstyn, he is the current co-president of the Actors Studio. Keitel studied under both Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg and at the HB Studio, eventually landing roles in some Off-Broadway productions. During this time, Keitel auditioned for filmmaker Martin Scorsese and gained a starring role as "J.R.", in Scorsese's first feature film, Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967). Since then, Scorsese and Keitel have worked together on several projects. Keitel had the starring role in Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973), which also proved to be Robert De Niro's breakthrough film. Keitel re-teamed with Scorsese for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), in which he had a villainous supporting role, and appeared with Robert De Niro again in Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), playing the role of Jodie Foster's pimp.
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