Bird of Prey flies higher
by Vitor Pinto
18/07/2006 - Bird of Prey by João Nicolau made history this weekend, becoming the first Portuguese title to win the Grand Prize at the 14th Vila do Conde Short-Film Festival (Portugal), the most important local showcase for emerging, young national and international directing talent.
Nicolau's film, which screened in the latest Cannes' Directors' Fortnight, won over other praised domestic short titles, including Catarina Mourão's documentary A minha aldeira já não mora aqui, Margarida Leitão's Parte de mim and Impending doom by acclaimed indie director Edgar Pêra.
Produced by Sandro Aguilar's O Som E A Fúria with support from ICAM and RTP, Bird of Prey is the story of Hugo, a recent anthropology graduate whose inert existence is upset by Catarina, a young freelance translator.
More than the portrait of a generation with an uncertain professional future, the film is a 25-minute poetical fantasy whose script quality (in particular, its dialogue) critics have lauded, and which evokes the influence of Woody Allen, Nanni Moretti and César Monteiro on Nicolau's style.
Nicolau wrote and directed the documentary You Can’t Live With Your Mouth Shut (1999) and later edited João César Monteiro's swan song, Come and Go, and Miguel Gomes' praised directorial debut A Cara que Mereces (Lit. "The Face You Deserve").
Nicolau is currently preparing his first feature, whose working title is Da Prisão.