An American businessman (Josh Charles) is in Paris, trying to set up a big deal in the Middle East for his bosses back home. His negotiations appear to be successful, and he is instructed to fly immediately from Paris to Dubai. But as he sits in his hotel room, overlooking the Charles de Gaulle airport, he has an epiphany: he realizes he is completely, utterly unhappy with his life.
Meanwhile hotel maid Audrey (Anais Demoustier) feels she isn’t where she belongs either. She’s a college dropout, coming off a bad breakup; she is overworked and underappreciated. She feels there is a freedom and lightness of being that exists somewhere, if only she can find it.
At first, Pascale Ferran’s Bird People comes across like a French Lost In Translation, with much of the action taking place in a hotel. While Paris seems a perfect place to lose your marbles and seek a new life and new identity, we find ourselves limited to the airport Hilton adjacent to the less-than-romantic airport. But the film quickly takes a turn toward the fantastic, as Audrey discovers that she can literally become like the sparrows that flit outside the windows of the rooms she cleans. That discovery, set to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, is when the whole movie takes wing.
This is an offbeat little film: not quite a comedy, not quite a romance, not quite a fantasy; but it is a strange and memorable journey. — Michael Popham
Bird People screens Monday and Tuesday, December 1 and 2 at 7:00 and 9:30 at the Trylon. You can purchase tickets here.