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HomeReview‘Bird’: Cannes Review

‘Bird’: Cannes Review

Dir/scr: Andrea Arnold. UK/France. 2024. 119mins

The spirit of Charles Dickens’ sprawling coming-of-age epic Nice Expectations shadows Andrea Arnold’s return to feature-length drama. Set in Gravesend on the Thames estuary south-east of London, the place Dickens’ novel opens, Hen spreads its wings slowly, however finally ends up hovering away from its dingy broken-Britain places in a shifting flight of hope and empowerment.

Arnold weaves a delicate combine between gritty realism and the magical type.

Rolling up a number of of the themes which have caught Arnold’s consideration through the years, together with the animalistic flip of her earlier characteristic, the 2021 documentary Cow, Hen looks like a return that can be a step ahead, and may resonate with audiences maybe much more strongly than American Honey (2016). Mubi will launch within the UK/Eire, having secured rights forward of the movie’s premiere in Cannes Competitors.

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Bursting with music, pulsing with dance and motion, Hen units out its stall from the beginning with a high-energy e-scooter sprint via the streets of Gravesend set to Dublin band Fontaines D.C.’s yelled new-punk anthem ’Too Actual’, whose refrain “Is it too actual for ya?” turns into a resonant leitmotif. Twelve-year-old Bailey (performed by first-timer Nykiya Adams) lives in a graffiti-covered house in what appears to be a semi-legal squat together with her older brother Hunter (Jason Edward Buda) and pa Bug (Barry Koeghan) – an Irishman dwelling in Kent with no discernible job and a distracted method to fathering. Keoghan performs Bug as a chancer that lives for the day. He’s an awesome dad should you catch him when he’s in a great temper however, being not way more than a child himself, he has no concept learn how to deal with a troublesome pre-adolescent.

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Bailey has discovered to take care of herself, retreating into a non-public world as closed off because the curtain-tent she has remodeled her mattress. She shoots brief movies on her telephone – of seagulls hovering overhead, horses and folks she meets, just like the mysterious Hen (Passages star Franz Rogowski), a drifter who seems after she wakes up in a meadow alongside the sting of the M2 motorway.

Arnold’s 2009 characteristic Fish Tank was additionally concerning the journey of a misplaced younger girl from a damaged dwelling on the sting of London who finds some solace within the scrappy nature on the sting of city. In Hen, the animal world seeps into each crevice of a movie that finally does one thing totally audacious and sudden with the theme – one which asks plenty of the viewer, however amply repays our indulgence.

Bug is roofed in animal tattoos, from the dragonfly on his again to the scorpion that crawls up his neck. He has simply bought a Colorado River toad that’s going to make him wealthy; he plans to promote the slime it excretes when threatened, a highly-prized hallucinogen (‘dad rock’ by bands like Coldplay appears to threaten the toad and trigger it to exude, the closest Hen involves a working joke). A butterfly alights on Bailey’s hand, a crow begins to comply with her when Hunter sends her on a quest to get a message to his 14-year-old pregnant girlfriend, who her dad and mom have locked away. 

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This isn’t the one fairy-tale component that cuts via the movie’s soiled realist setting and handheld digital camera fashion just like the unusual gale that generally virtually blows Bailey off her toes (which it appears that evidently solely she will really feel). Bailey’s two half-sisters and mom Peyton (High Boy’s Jasmine Jobson) stay with an ogre, the abusive Skate (James Nelson-Joyce). Transformations are in every single place – not the least of them in Bailey’s personal physique, as she wakes as much as uncover her interval has began – however Arnold weaves a delicate combine between gritty realism and the magical type.

Manufacturing firms: Home Productions, Advert Vitam

Worldwide gross sales: Cornerstone Movies workplace@cornerstonefilms.com

Producers: Tessa Ross, Juliette Howell, Lee Groombridge

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Cinematography: Robbie Ryan

Manufacturing design: Maxine Carlier

Enhancing: Joe Bini

Forged: Barry Keoghan, Franz Rogowski, Nykiya Adams, Jason Edward Buda, Jasmine Jobson, James Nelson-Joyce

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