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The Bird-Seller
or: Jean and My Mother

Documentary / 25 min /
DCP / 5.1 / release 2023

Near Geneva airport, on the banks of the Rhône, there is a self-built aviary. Here JEAN and ELISA meet, an eighty-year-old illiterate man who has dedicated his life to saving exotic birds and a young filmmaker from Berlin. Mechanisms of narcissistic love are explored from the perspective of parent and child.

The bird-seller tells two stories in tandem: Elisa breaks with her mentally ill mother, while Jean loses his 200 parrot children from one day to the other. While Elisa explores the codependent relationship with her mother, Jean is confronted with the truth about his bird hoarding (also called Noah syndrome). The national animal welfare agency accuses him of being a bad „father“. When the birds are forcibly seized in May 2019, the authorities find a state of neglect. Elisa tries to understand how Jean can love his birds and treat them so badly at the same time. Jean and Elisa set out to search his animals, which are now scattered in various Swiss zoos and animal shelters. A voyage of rapprochement between two opposing points of view that turns into a friendship.

Produktion title: The bird-seller or Jean and my mother
Genre: Short documentary
Length: 25 minutes
Language: German, French
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Resolution: HD color
Producer: Looking for producer
Release: 2022

Official selection (development 2021): Focus Script Cannes, Torino Short Film Market

Starring: Jean Koëlle
Director: Elisa Gómez Alvarez; Assistant director: Delphine Mouly; Director of Photography: Ivan Castineiras; Editor: Olivia Frey; Sound: Vuk Vukmanovic; Color grading: Léon Orlandi