The Birdcatcher’s Son (Richard Hobert, 2019): Sweden

Reviewed by Scott Kipp at SBIFF 2020.

The movie was very well done and I enjoyed everything but the main premise of the movie.  The idea that a couple would decide to have another man sleep with the wife to produce a son is rather extreme. If you can get over this hurdle, the movie is very enjoyable and has some amazing scenery and acting.

The sets and cast were all made to look like 1890 and they did a very good job of looking authentic. The men were burly and handsome and the women were reserved and straightforward. The drama came from the story of the family losing their home if they didn’t come up with a male heir.

A family friend convinced them that another man was needed to create a boy because of the chemistry of the parents.  I’m sure people were susceptible to stupid ideas before genetics were understood, but the premise of the mother sleeping with another man was far fetched. The dialog and acting did show that this disturbed the characters, so their reaction to the situation was believable.

The movie was shot in the dramatic Faroe Islands and the cinematography captured the beauty of the place well.  Many scenes were set up to highlight the dangers and remoteness of the exotic locale. From climbing cliffs to catch birds to walking around the exotic landscape, the scenery is to die for and obviously the reason that the director Richard Hobert filmed in the remote islands.

I went to the Nordic Film Makers panel at SBIFF 2020 where I saw the director/writer/producer Hobert talk about his film and the Nordic film industry. He said that the film was funded by the Swedish government and that he has directed a dozen films before this. He was a veteran on the panel and had a problem with the government funding an equal number of movies directed by men and women regardless of the experience of the director and crew.

While I was waiting for the premier screening of the movie, I saw the Hobert looking around taking pictures.  I talked to him and he said that the film had a $2M budget. I watched the movie from the back row of the theater with him where I took this picture.

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