The Council of Birds

Not available for screening anymore

The Council of Birds (Zerrumpelt Herz)

Directed by Timm Kröger

  • Germany 2014; 80 min
  • Original version: German
  • Genre: Period drama
    • Best Director (Timm Kröger) - Belgrade IFF


1929. Music teacher Paul Leinert receives an unexpected letter from his friend Otto Schiffmann, a young and talented composer who has moved away from Berlin after a failed marriage. The letter is an invitation for Paul to come and visit Otto in his forest cabin - and to get to know his new work, a long-awaited symphony. Taking along his wife Anna as well as his colleague Willi, the three find Otto’s cabin, but their host is nowhere to be seen. As they go looking for him the next day, Paul notices something odd about the song of the local birds . . .

Director's Statement

The story is simple, and we wrote it stemming from fragments in an old diary of my grand-cousin Wilhelm Krück (who also appears in the film as Willi, a dégagé bystander and witness to what happened in that forest in 1929 - whatever it was that actually happened). The exact location of Otto’s cabin remains unknown, & mystery surrounds the person of the composer himself whom history seems to have forgotten entirely. There is thus more fiction than real fact in this film, but what fascinated me about the scenes and atmospheres that formed in my head was exactly that: they were small leftovers, shadows from history. An ominous story where nothing much happens but which changes all who are in it. In its vague ambivalence between romantic, sometimes ironic pathos (“Heimatfilm” ) and genuine (subdued) drama, I wanted to make a film about the search for the strange and elusive thing that is inspiration; the subject of a powerful creative potential lingering in the air which is by turns euphorizing and maddening and buried deep within a dark (and very German) forest.