Torture Porn for Highbrows

Petr Kotlár in The Painted Bird (IFC Films)
Even in a Holocaust-adjacent movie, what’s the point of ramming home the same point in a hundred sickening ways?

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T here is so much grim knowledge about the Holocaust available to us, that sticking close to the factual record is the obvious and perhaps best choice. Still, we have all absorbed a lot of Holocaust material over the years, and it’s intriguing when an artist approaches the topic via allegory, fantasy, or even comedy. The Painted Bird, a black-and-white three-hour film written and directed by the Czech Václav Marhoul, seems promising at first: a successor to the ambiguous and strange allegories of the Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky, perhaps?

Not really. The Painted Bird is instead a picaresque three-hour litany of child

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