The Metamorphosis of Birds, by Catarina Vasconcelos at the Berlinale [20/02/2020]

Today begins the Berlinale - Berlin International Film Festival, which is already on its 70th anniversary. In this edition, The Metamorphosis of Birds, Catarina Vasconcelos' first feature film, is part of the new competitive section Encounters, inaugurated this year by the new director of the festival, Carlo Chatrian.

This section is “a meeting between a filmmaker and an audience. We follow only one criteria: each single film has to be unique. Unconditional freedom, this is what we’re aiming for.”, in the words of the festival director.

In a personal film, evocative of memory and longing for the grandmother she never met, Catarina paints a daydreaming portrait of her family through collections, memories and correspondence.

Her previous film, the short film entitled Metaphor or Sadness Inside Out, the final project of her master's degree at the Royal College of Art in London premiered at the Cinéma du Réel festival where it won the prize for best international short film. The Metamorphosis of the Birds is her first feature film.

The Metamorphosis of Birds is competing against the latest works from Heinz Emigholz, C.W. Winter and Anders Edström, Viktor Kossakovsky, Mariusz Wilczynski, Camilo Restrepo and Josephine Decker.


Beatriz married Henrique on the day of her 21st birthday. Henrique, a naval officer, would spend long periods at sea. Ashore, Beatriz, who learned everything from the verticality of plants, took great care of the roots of their six children. The oldest son, Jacinto (Hyacinth), my father, dreamed he could be a bird. One day, suddenly, Beatriz died. My mom didn’t die suddenly, but she too died when I was 17 years-old. On that day, me and my father met in the loss of our mothers and our relationship was no longer just that of father and daughter.

The film is produced by Primeira Idade (Pedro Duarte, Joana Gusmão e Catarina Vasconcelos) and distributed internationally by Portugal Film. The film's artistic and technical team will be present at the Berlinale as well as Portugal Film, which will develop contacts with international programmers and distributors.