'The Painted Bird' follows the journey of a boy, entrusted by his Jewish parents to an elderly foster mother in an effort to escape persecution. Following a tragedy, the boy is on his own. Wandering through the desecrated countryside, the boy encounters villagers and soldiers whose own lives have been brutally altered, and who are intent on revisiting this brutality on the boy. When the war ends, the boy has been changed, forever.
Shot in crisp black and white 35mm – Václav Marhoul’s 'The Painted Bird' does far more than simply depict the horror of war. It is an unflinching examination of the very worst of humanity.
BBFC rated 18 - strong violence, sexual violence, disturbing scenes
★★★★★ "A monumental piece of work" - Xan Brooks, The Guardian
★★★★ "A brutal kind of ordeal, but eerie, unearthly and even beautiful sometimes: a bad dream that leaks into waking reality." - Peter Bradshaw's Film Of The Week, The Guardian
★★★★★ "Thanks to a mesmerising performance from Kotlar, you are never less than gripped by his torturous frights of passage." - Jeremy Aspinall, Radio Times
★★★★ "Even if it gets a bit too much, you just can’t look away. Thrilling filmmaking." - Alex Godfrey, Empire
★★★★ "With rare commitment, Marhoul sets himself to portraying such all-consuming human depravity, the only response is to crumple." - Danny Leigh, The Financial Times
★★★★ "This film sent patrons running from cinema. I recommend you watch it" - Donald Clarke, The Irish Times
"Inarguably effective and immersive, its hard, unyielding gaze backed up by the muscularity of its craft." - Guy Lodge, Variety