Celluloid Dreams Boards Vaclav Marhoul's 'The Painted Bird' (Exclusive)

By Goodfellow, Melanie | Screen International, April 30, 2019 | Go to article overview

Celluloid Dreams Boards Vaclav Marhoul's 'The Painted Bird' (Exclusive)


Goodfellow, Melanie, Screen International


Ensemble cast features Stellan Skarsgard, Harvey Keitel, Barry Pepper, Julian Sands and Udo Kier.

Heading into Cannes, Celluloid Dreams has acquired international sales rights on Czech director Vaclav Marhoul’s holocaust tale The Painted Bird, an adaptation of late Polish writer Jerzy Kosinski’s classic novel about an orphaned Jewish boy fending for himself in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe.

Stellan Skarsgard, Harvey Keitel, Barry Pepper, Julian Sands and Udo Kier feature in the ensemble cast in the roles of the various characters who cross the boy’s path. Child actor Petr Kotlar makes his big screen debut as “the boy”.

“I’m extremely honoured to be representing The Painted Bird,” said Celluloid Dreams president Hengameh Panahi. “It is audacious and powerful cinema, replete with revelatory imagery and superb performances.”

The feature, which is post-production, joins Celluloid’s Cannes slate alongside Un Certain Regard animation The Swallows Of Kabul.

Marhoul has spent more than a decade writing, producing and directing The Painted Bird. He acquired rights to the novel in 2010, shortly after his 2008 feature Tobruk, about the exploits of Czech soldiers in the Second World War Siege of Tobruk in Libya.

First published in 1965, The Painted Bird is a notoriously tough read for the way it depicts the brutality and suffering that the boy experiences and witnesses as he wanders from village to village. Altered forever by his ordeal, he struggles for his soul and future after the war. …

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