Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (Judy Irving, 2003)
A documentary not so much about the birds themselves, but how people, particularly one man, relate to them. I suppose it has to be this way because the parrots can't speak for themselves and relate their own stories, so they need an advocate. That the filmmaker entered into a romantic relationship with the guy is, I guess, inevitable. I don't know many documentarians who don't keep up contact with their subjects if they're at all accessible.

As for the parrots, they are now just a fact of Nature, whatever their origins. Their continued existence depends on the charity of the Telegraph Hill residents. If there's a parrot-poop problem, it's for sure that some of them will want them gassed (as with the migrating geese in Seattle), or will just decimate the population as happened with the "abandoned bunny" colony in Redmond, which was bulldozed to make way for REI headquarters. Living on "The Rock" has taught me that, no matter how we romanticize the critters and anthropomorphize them, "Nature is red in tooth and claw" still, and it extends even to us, as these species survive merely on our whim. As upbeat as the movie tries to be about this lovely little miracle, it cannot ignore the predators among us.

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