The Painted Bird

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This movie will be released on

Jul 17, 2020

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Movie Info & Cast


Based on the acclaimed Jerzy Kosinskinovel, The Painted Birdis ameticulous 35mm Black &White evocation of wild, primitive Eastern Europe at the bloody close of WWII.The film follows the journey of The Boy, entrusted by his persecuted parents to an elderly foster mother. The old woman soon dies and the Boy is on his own. As he struggles for survival, he suffers extraordinary brutality meted out by ignorant, superstitious peasants and witnesses terrifying violence of the efficient, ruthless soldiers - both Russian and German.


  • Petr Kotlár
  • Nina Sunevic
  • Alla Sokolova
  • Stanislav Bilyi
  • Ostap Dziadek
  • Zdenek Pecha
  • Michaela Dolezalová
  • Udo Kier
  • Lech Dyblik
  • Jitka Cvancarová

Did You Know?


  • In the nineteen-sixties, writer Jerzy Kosinski had become famous in Manhattan literary circles for his astonishing tales about the brutalities he had allegedly suffered during the Second World War. Abandoned by his parents at the age of six, he claimed he had roamed the countryside alone, witnessing rape, murder, and incest, constantly fearing for his life. Kosinski turned those stories into his first novel, "The Painted Bird" (1965), which, for a time, was considered a major work of Holocaust literature. Kosinski's autobiographic claims were later debunked when it was revealed that he and his parents had all been sheltered by religious Polish people who had never handed him over to the Nazis.
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Sep 8, 2019

As in the book, the shock effect of coldly detailed incest, bestiality and sexual abuse, beatings, killings and mutilation is furiously nonstop in a film of nearly three hours. Rather than numbing the viewer, however, the parade of evil is presented in a dismaying crescendo of horror that offers no escape.

Metacritic review by Deborah Young
Deborah Young
The Hollywood Reporter
Sep 8, 2019

There is beauty in the 35mm black and white landscapes and framings of this painterly widescreen feature, but it stands in stark contrast with the alienating narrative and tone of a film which, like Kosinski’s book, takes a strange relish in charting the descent of simple country folk of a never-named country into sexual depravity and joyless cruelty.

Lee Marshall
Screen Daily
Sep 8, 2019

The Painted Bird ... is not the wallowing miserablist parade you might fear, yet not quite the Holocaust-themed masterpiece it wishes to be. But it’s always starkly compelling as a reminder of why war survival stories are essential to our understanding of innocence and beastliness.

Metacritic review by Robert Abele
Robert Abele