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Little Bird (Kauwboy), Boudewijn Koole, Netherlands, 2012, Dutch with English subtitles, 81 minutes, Feature, TORONTO PREMIERE, Rated 14A
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 9: Opening Night Gala, TIFF Bell Lightbox

This film features a boy and his relationships with both of his parents. Also, his adoption of, and subsequent attachment to a helpless young bird. It doesn’t feature the typical buffet of sex, violence and explosions, but instead is a touching tale of relationships, caring, life and death.

At first impression, Kauboy appeared to be slow-moving; boy running through the grass to get home for dinner with his father, an abusive drunk prone to fits of rage, the apparent feature character in the theme of mental illness. A second and very consistent theme was the boys’ relationship with his mother, a travelling singer, with who he spoke regularly over the phone.


Paul doesn’t typically do well with subtitles, so his review of this Dutch film certainly had me intrigued. I was actually really impressed at the eloquence and passion with which he spoke of this film (I’m not saying he doesn’t have it in him, but he typically relies on me for the more flowery and descriptive language). He described it as “really, very dramatic, one of the best films [he’s] ever seen…it really turns open your mind and has you far more emotionally connected than you could have every expected,… a strong and memorable statement on life and death… “. Many of the audience members were in tears or close, by the end of the film, and became “part of the directors’ vision”; the creators of the play did such a good job eliciting emotions from each and every member of the audience.

Critically acclaimed as the Netherlands Best Foreign Film submission to the 2013 Academy Awards, Little Bird (Kauboy) was selected as the Opening Night Feature at the 20th Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival.

From what Paul told me, this film was incredible, especially considering his truly heartfelt enthusiasm in the face of foreign media. Between the acting, direction and overall production of the piece, the plot, relationships and feeling of the storyline were as easy for him to follow as they would have been had he been watching the film in English. Furthermore, the subtitles were expertly executed; ensuring that little, if any, of what was going on would be lost in translation. I look forward to seeing it myself.


Watched by Paul Murton, English Review by Melissa Peters

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