I’ve been trying to avoid Canadian film all festival (it’s ok, I’ll have more of it after the fest anyway). But it’s always nice to break my rules as I did in watching Drunken Birds. Just like many recent entries into our canon, this film depicts the country’s new demographics. Meanwhile, the descendants of the original settlers dealing with new people and mores. One of the people representing the former group is Willy (Jorge Antonio Guerrero). He’s a migrant worker who gets advances from his buss Julie (Helene Florent) right in front of her husband. Richard (Claude Legault). There’s a reason for his indifference to her. Anyway, Julie and Richard’s daughter Lea (Marine Johnson) rebels. Her job as a sex worker puts everyone on danger.
The film doesn’t confine its story to that farm environment. And this stream of consciousness filmmaking elevates what could have been a problematic premise. It actually takes time to give Willy half of the film. His story then echoes through his past in Mexico, his present situation in Canada. Even a digression in a Chinese community reinforces that connectivity. Here, viewers can see Malick’s use of shadow and Demme’s transfigurations from the present to dreams and memory. Director Ivan Grbovic’s flexes and makes tricks seem like brushstrokes. He makes me forgive the references. It’s impressionistic and has texture. It captures its characters in moments of shame and peace, and it makes us feel all those emotions. Emotions that allows a little escape from reality.