Dead Bird Don’t Fly (2015) short film review

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A female immigrant living in America starts to develop a crush on her teacher in the short drama Dead Bird Don’t Fly. Check out our review here on Screen Critix.

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This isn’t the first film we have had the pleasure of reviewing that was directed by Charlie Sporns; we also did a write-up on his short comedy Margie: A Retirement Tale and scored it a great fantastic 4 ½ stars out of 5. Topping that seems like it would be hard to achieve, but Sporns has done so with a moving and riveting short drama.

Dead Bird Don’t Fly tells the tale of Mei (Chen Chen Julian), a young Asian trying hard to adjust to life in America. She spends most of her time daydreaming and wishing she could be anywhere but in the high school she studies at. That is until she meets Ms. Newman (Eli Jane) – a kind-hearted woman who wants to help Mei with her English oral skills.

Mei soon finds that she is attracted Ms. Newman and steals a photograph of her so she can fantasize being with her at home. Mei’s mother walks in her room during one such episode, which then causes a lot of friction between the two.

DBDF Poster 03 28 15 691x1024 Dead Bird Dont Fly (2015) short film reviewDead Bird Don’t Fly is beautifully lensed. The use of simpler framing works wonders for the short. It doesn’t overload with fast cuts and over-stylish imagery, yet it draws the viewer in. We see a lot of short films that look beautiful but have no heart or vice versa, but Dead Bird Don’t Fly hits both marks. It looks and feels excellent. The music and sound is also spot on and it is easy to see that both Sporns and his crew have a lot of filmmaking talent. I would love to see what this team could do with a decent budget and a feature script – I’d be first in queue at the local cinema to watch it if, and when, they get their chance to shine for the big screen.

It also has to be said that Chen Chen Julian puts in a fantastic performance as Mei. Her blank stares and subtle expressions tell us far more about what the character is going through than it would if she went over-the-top. She does remarkably well. I’d also go as far as to say that every cast member does a fine job too. They all perform in a fine way.

Dead Bird Don’t Fly is an excellent little short that I expect to win multiple awards on the festival circuit; I wouldn’t even be surprised if it gained a nomination for Best Short Film in the big one. Watch it if you can.

5 / 5 stars     

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