Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues has become a household name on the international festival circuit thanks to acclaimed features like “To Die Like a Man” and “The Last Time I Saw Macao,” and he’s currently finishing up the editing process on his most exciting venture yet.
Entitled “The Ornithologist,” Rodrigues’ latest feature reinterprets a famous Portuguese myth that explores the life of religious figure Saint Antony. The script centers on a 40-year-old ornithologist named Fernando. He decides to go down a river in a kayak, hoping to find rare black storks, but is distracted by the beauty of the landscape. Fernando eventually gets overthrown by the streams and begins a trip in a river of no return.
According to the religious legend, Saint Antony’s boat got to the coast of Italy, where he was rescued by Franciscan priests. In Rodrigues’ version, the saviours are two Chinese girls. The director tackled this subject once before in his 2012 short, “Morning of Saint Antony.”
The movie was shot between August and November of last year in the International Douro region of Portugal and in the Italian city of Padova. French César-nominee Paul Hamy stars in the title role. Check out first look photos of the film below.