Projections - Movie Reviews

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill


Rated: G
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 3, 2005 Released by: Shadow Distribution

This new documentary from Judy Irving engages as a meditation on life's ambitions and a nature study. It mixes humor and pathos from what we see about parrots finding a new habitat in San Francisco. She knows how to stimulate the birdwatching experience with careful perceptive camerawork.

Among the conures (the actual name for parrots) is the blue-headed Connor, a loner of a bird who is a good samaritan to other outsiders. Connor's counterparts are ones like Scrapper and Scrapperella, two cherry-headed ones, who finally broke up after she kept picking at his neck feathers.

One gets to view many of these avian pets who left their owners and are living wild in the North Beach section of the Bay City. There are escaped flocks even in the northeast part of the U.S.

Mark Bittner is the guide and much of the enjoyment of this independent film who immerses his life in these creatures. The pony-tailed environmentalist bohemian is fascinated with them like Diane Fossey was with gorillas, often taking pictures of them. He even nurses Tupelo, a parrot in desperate need of medical attention.

He's almost like a philosopher who makes his home in this kind of magical habitat with his feathered soulful friends who is hard not to be affectionate toward. And it's nice to see people around this homeless kind of guy (he lives rent-free through odd jobs) be treated like extended family or at least fed like the birds. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill becomes more touching, like Winged Migration on a smaller scale, less lyrical, but just as intimate.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill       B-       B-

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