Boy Eating the Birds Food (****)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Director: Ektoras Lygizos
Starring: Yinnis Papadopoulos
(Belfast Film Festival Event -BFF Micro Cinema – 16 / 04 / 13)
IT’S RARE for spoken word to feature so little in a film as it does in Boy Eating the Bird’s Food. Through expression, cinematography, action and sound, Director Ektoras Lygizos creates a world where speech is an almost redundant sense.
Narration is self-explanatory and emotion becomes tangible through expert camera work, contrast, and the mesmerizing one man show of Yorgos (Yinnis Papadopoulos) and his pet canary. Yorgos lives in modern-day Athens, and like many others, this is a story of desperation and struggle amid a society with no safety net and few ways out.
Throughout the film, the main driving force is incessant hunger and all-consuming search for food. A well-educated boy who, with a refined voice of a counter tenor, Yorgos is keen to always present himself well, especially for his evening routine of watching and often following from afar a hotel reception worker with whom he is smitten with. Through behaviour and pride, we can see that he has clearly seen a better life in times past. Of this we get little or no explanation.
One brief emotional call to his mother and a monologue in a church pew suggests that he left home against his parents wishes after committing a shameful act. We follow Yorgos through a dark period where he first loses his job then his power and water, and is then pushed out onto the streets to survive. Although talented and kind hearted, Yorgos spirals into despair, and we see the extreme extents to which he is driven to for sustenance.
The Boy Eating the Birds Food is a shocking and gripping drama which is far too real a story in current Greek society to simply be a symbolic title. Yes, when we first see Yorgos sharing his canary’s meal it is a moment of shame, embarrassment and pity. However the limitless drive, heart and soul of Yorgos which we eventually see crumbling, is a testament to Lygizos’ directorial ability to portray and attack the notion of those with self-preservation, prosper, and those who don’t, wont.
This is a no frills, dynamic film which reflects the unplanned and disjointed life that its lead character plays. It is not a simply a film about hunger, but about innocence and pride. Yorgos has the behaviour of a man who believes that life is about keeping your humanity intact, even if it means finding nourishment in the most unlikely places.