‘The Metamorphosis of the Birds’ Netflix Review – A Meditation on Life and Death


While browsing the Wikipedia page of The Metamorphosis of Birds by Catarina Vasconcelos, I came across a surprising detail. Please consider that I went blind in the movie and didn’t even read the genre tag on Netflix. I finished the film thinking I had watched a beautiful fictional film. However, Wikipedia tells me that The Metamorphosis of Birds is a “feature hybrid creative documentary”. At first I was surprised by the word “documentary”, but then I understood why the film seemed to come from very personal territory.

While watching The Metamorphosis of the Birds, I noticed that it produces the feeling of going through someone’s personal life. That the narrator seems to open his photo album before your eyes and tell you his thoughts and intimate memories. Of course, I now know that our guide is none other than the director herself – Catarina Vasconcelos – and she examines her family history in the film.

The shots are meticulously composed and framed. They appear as thumbnails and sometimes look like a table. This style makes sense as Catarina looks at her past through her movie lens. The dialogues are also as beautiful as the images. This is how a lieutenant speaks of the sea: “I often notice that the sea ignores my problems. But she has reason to worry, Beatriz. She has to create a lot of waves every day. There are many fish that use There are many souls that have stayed here forever. The sea does not have an easy task. And I’m sorry about that. Indeed, the sea is occupied with its own problems and cannot interfere with the problems of the lieutenant or his crew, for that matter. The people on the ship want to go home, but the sea cannot grant this wish.

This lieutenant is Henrique and Beatriz is his wife. These two talk to each other through letters. Since Henrique mostly sails outdoors, he misses a lot of his domestic life. His children are growing up and celebrating their birthdays in his absence while he experiences these moments through Beatriz’s letters and photographs. Henrique may not see his children grow up, but that doesn’t mean Beatriz – who lives with them – is completely happy. She is a bit sad that her children are becoming adults, because it means they will soon stop depending on her for their needs. Again, this aspect of life is beautifully portrayed by Henrique in the film. He looks at pictures of his children and says something like, “The frames can’t contain them. Which just means parents can’t always control their kids.

The Metamorphosis of the Birds is eloquent and poetic. The way he creates a connection between humans and nature, living and non-living, is fascinating. A child says that the trees saw the birth of their parents, their grandparents, etc. Perhaps if nature could speak, she would have given us details about our ancestors. The film’s imaginative powers can be seen in the scene where it explores the patriarchal system using plugs and sockets. Sockets are described as female. They are attached to the walls, which means they cannot move. But without them, there is no possibility of light, heat, dryers or razors. Butt plugs, on the other hand, are like men. They can move freely anywhere and get into the holds they like. After making this observation, the film begins to develop them. It lists the duties of a woman. But as soon as he starts talking about men, the voice is interrupted by a hair dryer. The meaning becomes obvious. Men can’t stand to listen to their flaws, which is one aspect of patriarchy.

Beatriz’s relationship with Henrique is compared to her bond with the Almighty. She cannot see him but feels his presence. Later, when the film translates conversations between birds, the phenomenon appears divine. The metamorphosis of birds meditates on everything from life to death. It is deeply evocative and not unlike a spiritual exercise.

Final score- [8.5/10]
Reviewed by – Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Editor at Midgard Times

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