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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Birds, Orphans and Fools" or "Vtackovia, siroty a blazni" )


directed by Juraj Jakubisko
Slovakia 1969


A surreal take on JULES ET JIM, BIRDS, ORPHANS, AND FOOLS - the third film of Slovak filmmaker Juraj Jakubisko (BATHORY) - details the love triangle between three orphans: Yorick (Jirí Sýkora, THE JOKE) - who grew up in a hospital for mentally handicapped children - Polish photographer Andrzej (Philippe Avron), and a strange Jewish girl Marta (Magda Vásáryová, THE COMET) named Martha who comes into their lives in a fittingly unconventional manner. While Yorick escapes reality by literally playing the fool while Andrzej makes a living for both of them taking photographs. The film's cloistered world is a series of derelict buildings where giant wardrobes function as closets and beds, and the titular orphans/fools share space with a flock of birds. Yorick and Marta take up together quickly, but their relationship sours for her when he wants to "give her" to virginal Andrzej. The childish games the three play (with each other and the residents of the children's hospital next door who are frozen in time by their mortality and being unwanted by the outside world) wear thin as Andrzej observes that Marta and Yorick torment each other, Marta doubts Yorick's love just as much as the stories he tells her about his heritage as the son of politician Milan Štefánik (who died fifty years before the story proper), and Yorick has time to reflect in jail ("I had time to think and felt empty inside"); indeed, it is unclear why he was arrested or why he went willingly, although it may have been another kind of escapism. The result is as much tragic as it is absurd. Photographed by Igor Luther and co-edited by Bob Wade, both of whom had worked on Alain Robbe-Grillet's French/Slovakian co-productions THE MAN WHO LIES and EDEN AND AFTER, the jarring and whimsical cutaways and digressions, the textural changes in the photography, and disorienting sound design only serve to remind the audience of the central trio's attempts to take refuge in madness.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: March 1976 (USA)

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DVD Review: Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:17:57

1.69:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.46 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Slovak Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.69:1

Edition Details:
• 20-page booklet featuring a new essay by Peter Hames

DVD Release Date: June 23rd. 2014

Chapters 12



Previously available in English-friendly editions in Slovakia (non-anamorphic 1.66:1) and the Czech Republic (anamorphic 1.77:1), Second Run's dual-layer transfer is anamorphic but the 1.69:1 framing resembles that of the Slovakian edition. The Slovakian Film Institute's HD-mastered image generally looks attractive apart from some optically-enlarged shots (including an optical zoom in which one can see the image coarsening and then smoothing out as it zooms back), but the overall roughness is part of its New Wave style. There is a single encoding glitch before the opening credits that results in a few frames of rainblow colored blocking that extends out into the side mattes, but the rest of the presentation is unaffected. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is in fine condition, and the optional English subtitle are free of errors.


Extras consist solely of a twenty-page booklet by Peter Hames that - like the essay in THE SUN IN A NET - starts off discussing how Slovak cinema was little known despite evolving alongside Czech cinema before launching into a discussion of the film itself and its parallels to JULES ET JIM, as well as the government response to the film as "imbued with anti-socialist, desperate, and negative content."

  - Eric Cotenas


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Region 0 - PAL

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