ScripTeast 2013 at Cannes: Painted Bird

    Czech scriptwriter Václav Marhoul competes for the Krzysztof Kieslowski ScripTeast Award during the 2013 Cannes IFF with Painted Bird, theharrowing story of the wanderings of a boy abandoned by his parents during World War II, based on the novel by Jerzy Kosiński.


    The Boy is living with his foster mother Marta, but Marta unexpectedly dies. The Boy is therefore all alone and forced to wander and fend for him-self in a wild region. He can stay nowhere for long and is forced to wander from place to place. He is taken under wing by Olga, a so-called holy woman who the villagers hold in high esteem on account of her magic powers; then he works as a slave of a cruel miller, he helped the reclusive bird catcher Lekh; he is a witness of the death of a woman known as Ludmila; he survived his meetings with German soldiers; he is saved by the Priest which tries to give him a trust to Jesus Christ; he is going through a lot of suffering from savage pig farmer Garbos; he is falling to love with his first girl Labina... His life is a chronicle of changes until the moment the small village where he has sought shelter is invaded by a pack of Cossacks fighting for the Germans, who rape and terrorize nearly all the locals. He is rescued by a troop of the Red Army. Sniper Mitka finally impacts the Boy much more than all others.

    The war ends and the boy is taken back to the city. He is placed in an orphanage with other children who have suffered a similar fate. His sufferings, however, are far from over. Finally - his father who had survived the war, show up for him. But they enjoy no happy ending together because the Boy, who has endured so much suffering and trauma, is unable to be a part of normal society. And yet the ending contains a spark of hope which suggests that the Boy might actually overcome his tremendous struggle, this time for his very soul...

    Commentry about the script:

    One of Jerzy Kosiński's most significant works and world bestseller The Painted Bird is a dark masterpiece. None of any book I ever read in my life touched me so strongly. And not even me, but millions of readers in the all over the world. That´s why, a few years ago, I did the best to obtain world rights together with a decision to write a screenplay and make a feature film based on this astounding story.

    BIO Václav Marhoul:

    Screenwriter, director, actor, producer.

    After graduating from FAMU in 1984, initially started as a production assistant and later as deputy head of production at Barrandov Film Studios. After the Velvet Revolution was for seven years CEO of Barrandov Film Studios.

    He is a Member of the Board and the Presidium of Czech Academy of Film & Television Arts.

    Selected filmography:
    2008 - Tobruk (scriptwriter, producer, director)
    Awards: IFF Seattle (The Best War Feature), IFF New York (The Best War Feature), IFF LA Movie Awards (The Best Narrative Feature), IFF Houston (Platinum Remi Award), EFA (Selection: EU Film Awards), IFF Austin (Narrative Jury Prize – Best script), CFTA Annual Award (Best Camera, Music, Sound)
    2003 - Smart Philip (scriptwriter, producer, director)
    Awards: IFF Houston (Silver Remi Award), CFTA Annual Award (Best Camera, Design)
    1998 - The Bed (producer, distributor)
    Award: IFF Cannes (Selection: International Critics Week, Golden Camera)


    Information Courtesy of ScripTeast


    Violetta Kaminska 
    Independent Film Foundation
    + 48 501 299 276
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