Tito and the Birds (2019)

Tito and the Birds
Brazil – 2018

Director: Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar, André Catoto
Screenplay:  Eduardo Benaim, Gustavo Steinberg
Runtime: 73′
Editing:  Vânia Debs, Thiago Ozelami
Sound:  Gustavo Kurlat, Ruben Feffer
Production:  Bits Filmes
Sales:  Indie Sales, Martin Gondre mgondre@indiesales.eu
Language:  Portuguese
Awards: Special Mention for Best Animated Movie (Sitges Film Festival 2018), Best Feature Animated Film (Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 2018), Coral Award for Best Feature Animated Film (Havana Film Festival 2018)

Following the spread of a strange epidemic, small Tito identifies the cause of this disease. The cure is simple: birdsong has to be understood. Recalling the experiments he did as a child with his father, from whom he was separated due to a dangerous accident, Tito sets off in search of his parent with the help of two friends. An engrossing animated film with expressionist tones, the race against time by a 10 year-old boy to save the world.

Director’s Note:
“My home city, São Paulo, is known as the “city of walls”. Twenty million people live here, most of whom hiding behind fences, barbed and electric wires – it is as if fear has become an epidemic, a disease. Perhaps because of this, the idea that fear is contagious has always fascinated me. And imagined violence – which may be based on facts, but is greatly amplified by the media – contributes as much to this epidemic as real violence. When we first started conceiving the movie, in 2011, this was perhaps not as obvious as today, but lately, especially with a certain hyperactivity deriving from an excess of connections, it has become clearer. And it seems to be happening everywhere – for different reasons, social inequality, economic crisis, terrorism etc., fear is taking over the world. And, in the name of fear, people build walls to protect themselves from other people, start wars, elect autocratic leaders…
The dream of reaching a truly democratic society is going down the drain not because of real dangers, which can be fought, but because of imagined ones.
I thought there were not many people making movies about this epidemic, especially for children.
And I think that it might fall upon children to find a way out of this mess that we created for them. I
hope they do!
The pigeons and doves are very important in the movie: they are key to the outbreak’s resolution and they are a permanent presence in Tito’s journey, either from afar or from a close distance, protecting and accompanying the main characters. Having pigeons and doves as such prominent characters was not a casual choice. Pigeons have been living alongside human beings for as long as there are cities. They are some of the most adapted animals to urban life – with the possible exception of humans and insects. They transmit dangerous diseases, such as toxoplasmosis, and their excrements ruin monuments and facades. On the other hand, they do occupy a privileged space in our culture’s imagination – from the Holy Spirit and the white dove of peace to carrier-pigeons, some of whom have even received honor medals, such as Cher Ami, the French pigeon who saved dozens of soldiers when he crossed enemy lines with a message, even after having been shot in the leg, and GI Joe, a British carrier-pigeon who saved a whole platoon. Pigeons seem to evoke many symbols that have a direct relationship with the movie’s central themes.”

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