The Painted Bird (film)

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The Painted Bird
The Painted Bird Film Poster.jpg
Movie poster
Directed byVáclav Marhoul
Produced byVáclav Marhoul
Screenplay byVáclav Marhoul
Based onThe Painted Bird
by Jerzy Kosiński
StarringPetr Kotlár
Nina Šunevič
Stellan Skarsgård
Udo Kier
Harvey Keitel
Jitka Čvančarová
Julian Sands
Ala Sakalova
Aleksei Kravchenko
Barry Pepper
CinematographyVladimír Smutný
Edited byLuděk Hudec
Silver Screen
Distributed byBioscop (Czech Republic)
IFC Films (USA)[1]
Release date
  • 3 September 2019 (2019-09-03) (Venice)[2][3]
  • 12 September 2019 (2019-09-12) (Czech Republic)[4]
Running time
169 minutes[5]
CountryCzech Republic
Budget175 million CZK[6]
Box office$573,850[7]

The Painted Bird (Czech: Nabarvené ptáče) is a 2019 internationally co-produced black-and-white war drama film written, directed and produced by Václav Marhoul. It is an adaptation of Jerzy Kosiński's novel The Painted Bird.[8][9] It is also the first movie to feature the Interslavic language.[10][11] Marhoul stated that he decided to use Interslavic language so that no Slavic nation would nationally identify with the story.[12]

The film was selected to play in competition at the 76th Venice International Film Festival and was chosen for 2019 Toronto International Film Festival as part of Special Presentations.[13] The film also screened in the Dare strand at the 63rd BFI London Film Festival. It was selected as the Czech entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.[14] Shocked by its brutal scenes, The Painted Bird led to walkouts from audiences at the Venice, Toronto and London film festivals.[15] A more compassionate and understanding Warsaw audience at the 35. Warsaw International Film Festival honoured the film with a long ovation after its one and only screening, there[16].


The film tells the story of a young Jewish boy. His parents send him to relatives in Eastern Europe to avoid antisemitic persecution. The boy's aunt suddenly dies and he has to take care of himself on his own in a dangerous wild world that is hostile to him.[4]



Václav Marhoul announced his intention to adapt Jerzy Kosiński's The Painted Bird in September 2012 when he secured rights for the story. Marhoul stated that the film will have budget approximately 120 million CZK. His plan was to secure finances during next 2 years.[17] The film received financial support 15 million CZK from Fond of Czech Filmography in 2016.[18]

The film entered production in 2017. Marhoul decided to shoot the film in seven phases.[19] First phase finished on 7 May 2017. Filmmakers were filming around Ukrainian village Svalovych from 23 March 2017 to 12 April 2017. Some reshoots had to be made from 21 to 23 April 2017 in Brdy Military area.[20] Second phase started in South Slovakia on 5 June 2017 to 5 July 2017. Film crew was shooting around Váh river, at Mlynská Dolina and in Malý Dunajec.[21]

Shooting moved to Lipno Dam and Kvilda in February and March 2018. Crew had to deal with bad weather as they needed ice on the lake.[22] Shooting concluded in July 2018 after 100 shooting days during 16 months. The film then entered post production.[23][24] Post production concluded in February 2019.[25]

For the villagers' dialogue, Marhoul decided to use the Interslavic language instead of any ethnic Slavic language:


The first trailer for the film was released on 28 July 2019.[27] The film had its worldwide premiere at 76th Venice International Film Festival on 3 September 2019.[28] The film was first projected in Czech cinemas for journalists on 11 September 2019. It entered distribution for Czech cinemas on 12 September 2019.[29] The film was originally scheduled to be released in May 2019.[30]

IFC Films became the distributor of the film for United States in October 2019.[1][31]


Critical response[edit]

The Painted Bird has received very positive reviews from critics with many likening it to films by Andrei Tarkovsky.[32] It holds an approval rating 87% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating 8.8/10.[33]

The film was projected for journalists on 2 September 2019. Some people left the theatre as they could not stand the depicted violence and rape scenes. Overall reception was positive as the film received a long ovation from the audience and some unofficial responses called it one of the front-runners for Golden Lion, but ultimately lost to Joker. The director was particularly praised.[34][35] The film also received a 10 minute standing ovation during its premiere on 3 September 2019.[36][37]

Xan Brooks of the Guardian gave the film five stars. He called The Painted Bird a "savage, searing three-hour tour of hell" and "phantasmagorical horror, rattling around ravaged eastern Europe for just shy of three hours." He praised the film's visuals and atmosphere.[38] Guy Lodge of Variety was also positive praising camera by Vladimír Smutný. He called the film "muscular, savagely realized Jerzy Kosiński adaptation puts an unnamed Jewish boy through a challenging litany of Holocaust horrors."[39]

Holywood Reporter picked The Painted Bird as one of 20 best films projected at Film festivals during Fall 2019.[40]

Box office[edit]

The film opened in Czech cinemas on 12 September 2019. It was attended 26,094 people and grossed 4,034,060 CZK during first weekend.[41]


Year Event Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
2012 Cannes International Film Festival Krzysztof Kieślowski Award Best Screenplay Václav Marhoul Won [42]
2019 Venice International Film Festival Golden Lion Best Film The Painted Bird Nominated [43]
Cinema for UNICEF Fight for children's rights The Painted Bird Won [44][45]
Nový Bor Academy of United Cinematography NASK Award Contribution to Czech and World Cinematography Václav Marhoul Won [46]
Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo Best Feature Film The Painted Bird Nominated [47]
Best Cinematography Vladimír Smutný Won [48]
Camerimage Golden Frog Best Cinematography Vladimír Smutný TBA [49]
Cork International Film Festival Gradam Spiorad na Féile Spirit of the Festival Award Václav Marhoul TBA
Minsk International Film Festival Grand Prix Golden Listapad Best film Václav Marhoul TBA [50]

International festivals[edit]

The film was selected to appear on various International film festivals. It includes:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Nabarvené ptáče Václava Marhoula vylétá na festivaly a do distribuce v USA". Cysnews (in Czech). 30 September 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Historický úspěch. Marhoulův film Nabarvené ptáče bude soutěžit v Benátkách". Aktuálně.cz - Víte, co se právě děje (in Czech). 25 July 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Nabarvené ptáče (2019)". Czech and Slovak Film Database (in Czech). Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Marhoul jedná s agenty a chystá premiéru filmu Nabarvené ptáče". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Nabarvené ptáče patří mezi nejdražší české filmy". Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  7. ^ "The Painted Bird". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Stellan Skarsgard to Star in Holocaust Drama 'The Painted Bird'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  9. ^ Strbova, Denisa. "PRODUCTION: Václav Marhoul Starts Shooting The Painted Bird". Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  10. ^ "The Painted Bird — the First Film in Interslavic". Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  11. ^ "«Раскрашенная птица» – кинодебют межславянского языка". Radio Praha (in Russian). Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  12. ^, team at. "Nabarvené ptáče aneb Bolestivé pochybnosti o poslání živočišného druhu Homo sapiens". (in Czech). Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  13. ^ Podskalská, Jana (4 September 2019). "Festival v Torontu začíná. Marhoulův boj pokračuje". (in Czech). Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Česko vyšle na Oscary Nabarvené ptáče. Filmová akademie vybírala z deseti snímků". iROZHLAS (in Czech). 16 September 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  15. ^ "'The Painted Bird' Holocaust Drama Prompts Mass Walkout at Toronto". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  16. ^ "'The Painted Bird'".
  17. ^, team at. "Václav Marhoul chce zfilmovat Nabarvené ptáče. Práce zaberou čtyři roky!". (in Czech). Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  18. ^, team at. "Švejk Josef poslušně hlásí, že má finanční podporu fondu, režiséra Slámu a herce Lišku". (in Czech). Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  19. ^, team at. "Václav Marhoul začne točit Nabarvené ptáče. Stellan Skarsgård potvrdil, Harvey Keitel je v jednání!". (in Czech). Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  20. ^, team at. "Václav Marhoul dokončil první fázi natáčení Nabarveného ptáčete". (in Czech). Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  21. ^, team at. "Václav Marhoul dokončil druhou fázi natáčení filmu Nabarvené ptáče". (in Czech). Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  22. ^, team at. "Čekání na třeskuté mrazy a 2 záložní plány. Jak pokračuje natáčení výpravného velkofilmu?". (in Czech). Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  23. ^, team at. "Vyčerpávající natáčení drsného snímku je u konce. Marhoulovo Nabarvené ptáče míří do střižny". (in Czech). Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  24. ^ "VIDEO: Zrychlený dech a běh o život. Představuje se Nabarvené ptáče". 14 June 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  25. ^ "Václav Marhoul dotočil Nabarvené ptáče" (PDF). Retrieved 29 August 2019. External link in |website= (help)
  26. ^ Helena Williams & Marie-Louise Gumuchian, "The Painted Bird" tells "timeless" story of survival in dark times. Yahoo! News, 3 September 2019.
  27. ^ "Festival Trailer for B&W Film 'The Painted Bird' Premiering in Venice". Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  28. ^ Barraclough, Leo; Barraclough, Leo (26 July 2019). "First Look: Trailer for Venice Competition Film 'The Painted Bird' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  29. ^ "V Praze dnes bude mít českou premiéru Nabarvené ptáče - videopřenos". (in Czech). Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  30. ^ "ROK 2019: Do kin vlétne Nabarvené ptáče. O diváky se poperou filmy podle komiksů". (in Czech). 1 January 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  31. ^ Lang, Brent; Lang, Brent (24 September 2019). "IFC Films Acquires Holocaust Drama 'The Painted Bird' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Drama jak od Tarkovského, nebo banální pornografická vize? Zahraniční recenze Nabarvené ptáče vesměs chválí". (in Czech). 4 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  33. ^ "The Painted Bird (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Český film Nabarvené ptáče v Benátkách doprovodil potlesk i odchody ze sálu -". Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  35. ^ "Journalists' premiere of The Painted Bird at Venice film festival". Radio Praha. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  36. ^ "Nabarvené ptáče v Benátkách: Film, který přetéká násilím, sklidil dlouhý potlesk i pobouřené odchody". (in Czech). Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  37. ^ Podskalská, Jana (5 September 2019). "Ovace vestoje i rozpaky z násilí. Nabarvené ptáče budí rozruch". (in Czech). Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  38. ^ Brooks, Xan (3 September 2019). "The Painted Bird review – savage, searing three-hour tour of hell". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  39. ^ Lodge, Guy; Lodge, Guy (3 September 2019). "Venice Film Review: 'The Painted Bird'". Variety. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  40. ^ "Nabarvené ptáče se dostalo do výběru hollywoodských kritiků". Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  41. ^, team at. "TOP kina ČR: Nabarvené ptáče dostalo přes prsty nejen od spoře oděných volejbalistek". (in Czech). Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  42. ^, team at. "Ambiciózní projekt Václava Marhoula má první úspěch - cenu z Cannes za scénář! Radují se i tvůrci animáku Pandy". (in Czech). Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  43. ^ "V Benátkách uspěla restaurovaná Extase. Zlatého lva má Joker". 7 September 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  44. ^ ""The Painted Bird" wins Cinema for UNICEF award in Venice". Radio Praha. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  45. ^ "Nabarvené ptáče získalo v Benátkách studentskou cenu. Za boj za práva dětí". 6 September 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  46. ^, team at. "Čeští kinaři udíleli své "Oscary"". (in Czech). Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  47. ^ "Announcing Competitions for the 55th Chicago International Film Festival". Cinema Chicago. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  48. ^ "Film Nabarvené ptáče dostal na filmovém festivale v Chicagu cenu za Nejlepší kameramanský výkon". Deník N (in Czech). 27 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  49. ^ "Camerimage Cinematography Festival Unveils Main Competition Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  50. ^ a b "Minsk film festival Listapad unveils its full lineup for 2019 | Press releases, Belarus". Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  51. ^ "PRVNÍ DOJMY: Lidé prchali z promítání. Nabarvené ptáče zanechalo v Benátkách nesmazatelnou stopu". (in Czech). 4 September 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  52. ^ "Z Nabarveného ptáčete kvůli násilí odcházeli i návštěvníci festivalu v Torontu". Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  53. ^ a b c "Nabarvené ptáče si zamilovali studenti. Se Zlatým lvem z Benátek režisér nepočítal". Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  54. ^ "MALOWANY PTAK". Retrieved 1 October 2019. External link in |website= (help)
  55. ^ "VIFF The Painted Bird". Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  56. ^ "【The Painted Bird】| 32nd Tokyo International Film Festival". Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  57. ^ a b Staff, F. N. E. (1 January 1970). "CZECH FILMS AT FESTIVALS: AUTUMN". Retrieved 4 November 2019.

External links[edit]