The Birdpeople | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Birdpeople 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Like most well-made documentaries, this 2004 film presents its subject from a variety of angles: birders in New York's Central Park together with telephoto close-ups of their quarry, stuffed birds seen alone and in museum dioramas, a search for the presumedly extinct ivory-billed woodpecker, an affecting text about a woodpecker's nearly successful attempt at pecking out of captivity. What makes Michael Gitlin's film extraordinary is the way it represents birding as a special way of seeing. Close-ups of birds in the field isolated by surrounding branches in soft focus are paralleled by jerky zoom-ins on book pages or stuffed specimens, echoing the way the collector's eye homes in on prized treasures. Paired with the theme of ecological ruin--the sheer number of birds worldwide has declined steeply--the birder's quest is given a melancholy poignancy. 61 min. Sat 2/26, 8 PM, Chicago Filmmakers. Gitlin will attend the screening.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
October 08
Galleries & Museums
Artists Run Chicago 2.0 Hyde Park Art Center
September 01

Popular Stories