Bird of Paradise
May 11, 2023
Ruth Hesch, Andris Braeuer
Finch Alexander, Sadie Scheufler, Tyler Palomo
A young man's life changes dramatically when he decides to learn pole dancing.
James (Alexander) and his friends go for a night out at a strip club to watch pole dancers. While there, he is mesmerised when he observes Skadi (Scheufler), one of the dancers, performing. Later he returns and asks her to teach him pole dancing, which she agrees to do. As he dedicates to learning, James's life becomes complicated as he finds himself isolated from his friends and attracts unwanted attention from some nasty people.
This short drama tells a story about an individual who has an epiphany that ends up turning his whole life around, sending him down a path of self-discovery that has positive and negative consequences. On the plus side, James discovers a new passion, a way to express himself and he builds a strong rapport with Skadi, who not only teaches him, but also ends up being a good friend as she begins to care for him. However, as he spends a lot of time pursuing his new activity, his friend Ian (Palomo) begins to worry about him and two thugs end up having serious issues when they find out what James is up to. The screenplay effectively explores the character development that the protagonist goes through, the joys that he experiences by embracing pole dancing and also the pains that he has to deal with as other people misunderstand him.
Alexander is quite dramatic as a quiet and sensitive person who is trying to find himself. He is a bit of an outsider, an individual who is different than his friends and needs something in his life that will enable him to be who he wants to be and that something seems to be pole dancing.
Allorie Alexander does an amazing job with the cinematography that creates feelings of gloom and Adele Etheridge Woodson deserves recognition for the dramatic music that includes wonderful piano melodies.
This interesting short has similarities to Billy Elliot, as in both films the protagonist is a young person who discovers a new passion, which causes complications in their life as it is an unusual one and those around them do not understand it. The main theme of Braeuer's film is self-discovery and the script also explores homophobia, friendship and provides an insight into the world of pole dancing. Ultimately, this is a moving story about an individual who has an epiphany that leads to a passion and who overcomes obstacles in order to pursue that passion. It is a story that encourages people to find out who they are.