Birds Are Singing in Kigali

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Poland | 2017 | 113 minutes | Joanna Kos-Krauze, Krzysztof Krauze

A bittersweet story of healing and resilience begins in 1994, when a Polish ornithologist doing research in Rwanda saves a young Tutsi woman after her family is murdered in the genocide. In Poland, the women each struggle in their own way to move on from the visceral horrors they have experienced.

"Intended as a comment and warning as the right continues to rise in Europe and elsewhere, the last work by the Krauze duo is certainly not entertainment, but makes its points effectively and incisively, and is sure to leave a lasting impression on whoever sees it." Zoe Aiano - The East European Film Bulletin

Birds are Singing in Kigali is a multi-level drama of two women who survived the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Polish orinthologist Anna Keller (Jowita Budnik) and Rwandan Claudine Mugambira (Eliane Umuhire). Anna has been working in Rwanda with Claudine's father, a professor of ornithology studying the decline of vultures in Africa, but when the Hutus decimate the Tutsi population and murder Claudine's family, Anna must help her escape. Both women, deeply suffering, engage in a complex and piercing psychological process of healing and restoration of their daily lives, a strange pair engaged in a love-hate relationship. This film was shot on location in Rwanda, Kenya, and Poland by the Polish filmmaking duo Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze (My Nikifor, SIFF 2016), who lived in Africa for several years. When they finally began to shoot the film, Krzysztof passed away, and Joanna later completed the project. This film is about the lasting trauma of genocide, what it means to forgive, to reconcile, to remember, and to mourn. The other main character in the film is nature itself, ever changing, eroding, and renewing.

Director Biography
Joanna Kos-Krauze is celebrated for her ability to strategically avoid traditional cliches and create symbolism that transcends the shock value nature of Hollywood filmmaking. She married director Krzysztof Krauze in 2004 and the two have collaborated to create some of the most prolific films in Polish cinema. After graduating from the film school in Lodz and a brief time working in television commercial production, Krzysztof Krauze went on to pursue directing and before his passing in 2014, became the Chairman of the Polish Film Institute, a member of the European Film Academy and the Board of Polish Filmmakers Association. He remains a renowned figure in Polish cinema and in collaboration with his wife Joanna Kos-Krauze has received over 26 international awards for his work.

Sponsored by Consulate General of Poland, Seattle Polish Film Festival

  • Original Language Title: Ptaki spiewaja w Kigali
  • Director: Joanna Kos-Krauze, Krzysztof Krauze
  • Principal Cast: Jowita Budnik, Eliane Umuhire, Witold Wielinski, Ciza Remy
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Poland
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 113 minutes
  • Producer: Joanna Kos-Krauze
  • Screenplay: Wojciech Albinski, Joanna Kos-Krauze, Krzysztof Krauze
  • Cinematographers: Krzysztof Ptak, Jozefina Gocman, Wojciech Staron
  • Editors: Katarzyna Lesniak
  • Music: Pawel Szymanski
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Kos-Krauze: Papusza (2017); Saviour Square (2006); Krauze: Papusza (2013); Saviour Square (2006); My Nikifor (2004); The Debt (1999); Street Games (1996); Nowy Jork, czwarta rano (1988); Jest (1984)
  • Language: Polish
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: KOS Film