An entry in the 2012 Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto, ON.
The Captured Bird breaks the illusion of death with a fantastical tale both abstract and visually bizarre, and yet strikingly literal in its message – death is alive, and it feasts on the curiosity of our younglings. First-time director Jovanka Vuckovic finds a style with an unsettling mix of grace and dread. Her imagery moves in harmony, developing a lyricism that the score – performed by Redeemer (Passion of the Christ, Hostage) – elevates with its eerie blend of beguiling chimes and a remorseful violin.
We are led down the rabbit hole by a young, dewy-eyed girl with pigtails (Skyler Wexler). Since Alice, it has become a fact that characters of this shape and size represent the best and most interesting of fantasy’s explorers. Their naivete is the perfect fit for an audience that has come to the theatres to suspend their disbelief and bask in a world outside the banality of the real world. Moviegoers want to believe anything, and so do little kids… that is until the monsters arrive.
The Captured Bird, like most fantasy stories, is about a discovery. One that, however, leads to a flux of tapers, creepy blue tentacles, and dark, arched-over monsters. Vuckovic moves the camera with an eerie steadiness, as if we are these monsters too floating menacingly from above. For a first film, Vuckovic knows how to juxtapose colors – on, I might add, a beautiful canvas –to create the feeling that both good and evil predominate this world.
Coming from a creative team that includes three Oscar nominees and a visual effects department responsible for horror classics like Land of the Dead and Slither, The Captured Bird is an evocative wonder that features – in its only morsel of dialogue – perhaps the greatest scream since Jamie Lee’s.