Václav Marhoul adapts for the screen and directs Jerzy Kosinski’s controversial novel about a lone child traversing the perilous terrain of Eastern Europe at the end of World War II.
Petr Kotlár gives a desistating performance for one so young as an unnamed boy, entrusted by his Jewish parents to an elderly foster mother in an effort to escape persecution. Following a tragedy, he is on his own.
Wandering through the desecrated countryside, the boy encounters villagers and soldiers whose own lives have been brutally altered, and who are intent on revisiting this brutality in return.
Shot in stark black and white and coming in just under 3 hours in runtime, The Painted Bird is an immersive and unflinching portrait of the depths humanity can reach in its worst moments of desperation, eliciting phantasmagorical horror out of a historical setting.