RAINDANCE ’21 — ‘A Bird Flew In’ is a Soulful Piece of Cinema Verité

Chris Lopez/Goldfinch Films

One of the first films shot after the start of the pandemic, A Bird Flew In is a British drama that seeks to magnify our lockdown survival stories. Written by Elizabeth Morris and Dominic Wells, the film takes an extremely human approach to the exploration of isolation. Set in London during the early days of lockdown, the cast and crew of a film production are forced to shut down. Each return to their homes, alone, where they must deal with their own issues.

The film offers up various experiences of living through lockdown, as director Kirsty Bell executes it all in a smooth black and white. The general essence of each scene is conveyed with a sincere carefulness which is only further reinforced by the emotional displays of the cast. Following couples on the verge of a breakdown, a celeb live-streaming their solitude and a director with a dickhead husband, A Bird Flew In gently works its way through each plot point, exploring the highs and lows of each character’s restricted existence.

For a film that is arguably too soon (considering we’re still in the pandemic), this directorial debut is an impressive and genuinely touching viewing experience. The rawness of this beautiful black and white feature is largely effective due to its current relevance and relatability. It is questionable how a film that is entirely a product of the UK’s response to the pandemic will age when reflected on in a few years. A Bird Flew In is a soulful and poetic portrayal of organic intimacy that dramatizes the early days of lockdown for largely privileged people — the cast and crew the film focuses on experience lockdown from the comfort of their own homes or villas abroad.

Although it genuinely does reflect and represent relatable and real struggles during lockdown, it by no means encapsulates the working-class experience. This entirely allows the film to focus on the emotional aspects of each character and their relationships with people in their lives. Some characters battle with their own, or a loved one’s health problems, others battle with mental health, loneliness, working from home and yearning. Each struggle presented is explored through a sensitive lens, with perhaps the most touching storyline following one actress’ spiral into a social media-supported meltdown, much to the dismay of her co-star. 

A Bird Flew In is bound to make you feel. It’s goofy yet sad, heartwarming and bittersweet, it provides us with a window into the trials and tribulations of the not-so-distant-actually-very-current reality of our lives, and how we find ways to cope.  A fantastic directorial debut that provides a compelling collection of stories carried out by a talented cast.

A Bird Flew In premiered at Raindance Film Festival and will be released in the UK in 2022

by Kelsie Dickinson

Kelsie (she/her) is a super gay masters student at The University of Glasgow. She loves slashers, but hates capitalism. Her favourite films are It Follows, Midsommar, Lost In Translation and Ghost World. Find her on Twitter.

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