Off Topic: Je suis L’Oiseau Bleu

Another Atlanta Film Festival entry that I reviewed, I Am the Bluebird (Thomas Verrette, 2009), is now up on FilmThreat.

Here’s an excerpt:

As proud as parents can be when their children succeed and display other signs of having been raised, nurtured, and taught well, parents can also be filled with anxiety and conflict when making life-altering decisions without input from the children. Regardless of whether or not the parent is legally empowered to make those decisions, there are circumstances (commonly involving physical injury) where the child literally cannot protest. Moreover, when a child is experiencing physical or mental anguish, having to weigh the right vs. the best course of action is preferable to the alternative of not having any options. These issues surface in Thomas Verrette’s brooding science-fiction film “I Am the Bluebird,” which premiered at the 2009 Atlanta Film Festival.

Unfolding through flashbacks, flash-forwards, and reverie-like sequences, “I Am the Bluebird” centers on the relationship between Dr. Charles Galloway (Robert Pralgo) and his son Ethan (Justice Leak) and how it becomes strained when the actions of the father irrevocably affect the well-being of the son. Basically, Ethan has lost his memory, his dad had a hand in it, and very few people wish to clarify his lingering confusion. The only lead he has is a photograph of him and a girl walking on a beach. As demonstrated in the film, it takes a lot more than sighs of exasperation from friends and family to slow the bluebird down.

Read the rest here.

I found myself intrigued by the characters, not just because I wanted to know what Ethan’s father was hiding…what all of them were hiding, including Ethan, but also because of an unease of sorts that loitered about the characters.   When the film began to provide some answers, though, I steadily lost interest in that aspect of the story.  I was actually much more invested in the father-son relationship.  Robert Pralgo (who was in this great, local indie film called Delivery Boy Chronicles I reviewed a few years back) played the doctor-dad very well.  Whether or not the viewer is supposed to like him or sympathize with him is irrelevant at times.

He’s just a man trying to do the best he can professionally and personally.  And, if we are to pin down the switch-on-a-switch-on-a-switch of “what really happened” in the story world vs. Ethan’s own mind vs. what the film wants us to think did or didn’t really happen, then it’s much more rewarding to pay attention to how I Am the Bluebird presents the dynamic between Ethan and his family.  Speaking of whom, Justice Leak portrayed his character solidly for the most part.    He effectively conveys indifference, discombobulation, suspicion, and contentment, but there were a few scenes, or a few shots, where I wasn’t totally convinced he was angry or felt betrayed.

Pic creds: here.

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