by Lee Hazell
With a title reminiscent of Val Lewton’s 1942 horror classic Cat People, Bird People might be closer to that film than it first appears. Whereas the old RKO picture had people turning into cats as a metaphor for repressed sexual desire, Bird People uses the power of flight as a symbol for people’s yearning to break free of their cage. The cage in this characters case (as it is with so many other films) is the trappings of modern life. Technology, marriage, money, they bring no joy to Gary Newman (the films lead character, not the 80’s pop star). So he finds himself drawn to a maid in his hotel room who seems to be able to shape shift into a bird. This could well be a film with a premise too hard to swallow. Films can often get away with such flights of fancy (face palm), but only if they are good enough to earn it. For my tastes, this looks a little too self-involved and navel gazing, so it’s going to have to work extra hard for its magical realism.