Me ending up in Santa Clara( an hr away from home) for a movie premier in the middle of the week are very slim. But faith got me there. Tugging my two kids and my in-laws in tow, I was rubbing shoulder to shoulder with the cultured people of Pakistani decent at the AMC theater.I consider myself a creative person to an extent, but the movie stumped me. I was speechless. I guess because I couldn’t see it from the perspective of an American or detach myself from the country, it portrayed. I had no idea what to make of it, till the next day.
To truly understand this film you had to think three dimensionally. Which is difficult for most of us to do. So thats why I said earlier that despite me being a creative thinker,I was stumped.
I will not talk about what was in the movie, or who it was about.I think it was not about that at all, nor was it about the individual or individuals in it. It was about the state Pakistan is in. How with so little resources, people in Pakistan are doing their best to make it through the day.
One needs to be more objective than subjective, if you want to benefit from this experience. By viewers sitting in developed countries, the movie might be criticized for portraying Edhi or Pakistan in a bad light, but looking at the bigger picture and just staying with the feeling this movie cultivates in you, you will enjoy it for its artistic endeavor. Thus helping us see beyond the image.
Okay, lets start with the title. These Bird Walk. Birds, fly. So if they are walking, somethings is wrong. Now that we have that clear. I start with the beginning of the movie.The images start with the background noise, as I wait eagerly for the commentary to begin, but it never does. It makes me uneasy.That is because, when you see a documentary, it is usually accompanied with a background voice, which gently guides you through, with the images. The directors, deliberately let us believe we are on our own.To make sense of it, and to experience the unknown and to make us aware of this uneasy feeling.Or rather a state of exsistance the people in this movie are in. Stay with me on this feeling,as it will continue throughout this movie. Every individual in the film was living his life with limitation and trying to make the best of it. The driver, the kids, even Edhi himself. He said, “if you want to find me look for me in the people of Pakistan.”
The strongest visual of this film was in the middle of the movie. When the camera pans the sky, and above the bridge are hundreds of birds flying, and people looking up at them. We see the driver is sitting in the van, and the reflection of the birds on his windscreen. There was a immediate co-relation with the flight of the birds and the limitations of man as he stares out towards the ocean.
To sum up this film, in a few words. Do not go to this film with the expectations of seeing things or issues being solved or coming back with a feeling of awe, for Edhi. Or even feeling sorry for the people of Pakistan. You will come back with an acute awareness of a country on the verge. And the steadfastness of the people of Pakistan.