A metamorfose dos pássaros

The Metamorphosis of Birds
Beatriz and Henrique meet, fall in love and get married when Beatriz is 21 years old. Henrique is a naval officer and goes to sea. Beatriz looks after their six children at home. One day she dies unexpectedly. Her oldest son is Jacinto. Since early childhood, he has dreamed of turning into a bird. Jacinto is the father of director Catarina Vasconcelos, whose mother also died when Catarina was 17. After the loss of their mothers Catarina started to work on a film called A metamorfose dos pássaros.
With borrowings from Manoel de Oliveira and Agnès Varda, Catarina Vasconcelos has brought her family history to life in this intimate, very personal film that is rather like a polyphonic diary. Remembrance and mourning merge into a poetic narrative in which father and daughter talk about their history and the film that is emerging from it. Like the two deceased mothers, the film’s images offer protection against the relentless passage of time. And as the living protagonists whose voices we hear come to realise, parting is a prerequisite for a new beginning.
by Catarina Vasconcelos
with Manuel Rosa, João Móra, Ana Vasconcelos, Henrique Vasconcelos, Inês Melo Campos, José Manuel Mendes, João Pedro Mamede, Cláudia Varejão, Henrique Serpa de Vasconcelos, Catarina Vasconcelos
Portugal 2020 Portuguese 101’ Colour Documentary form


  • Manuel Rosa (Jacinto, young)
  • João Móra (Pedro, young)
  • Ana Vasconcelos (Beatriz)
  • Henrique Vasconcelos (Jacinto)
  • Inês Melo Campos (Teresa, young)
  • José Manuel Mendes (Voice of old Henrique)
  • João Pedro Mamede (Voice of Henrique)
  • Cláudia Varejão (Voice of Beatriz)
  • Henrique Serpa de Vasconcelos
  • Catarina Vasconcelos


Written and Directed by Catarina Vasconcelos
Cinematography Paulo Menezes
Editing Francisco Moreira
Music Madalena Palmeirim
Sound Design Miguel Martins
Sound Adriana Bolito
Assistant Director Mariana Veloso
Production Manager Maria Inês Gonçalves
Producers Pedro Fernandes Duarte, Joana Gusmão, Catarina Vasconcelos

Produced by

Primeira Idade

Catarina Vasconcelos

Born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1986. After graduating from the Fine Arts Academy in the city, she moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art. Her graduation project, the short film Metáfora ou a tristeza virada do avesso, won the Best International Short Film award at Cinéma du Réel in 2014 and went on to screen at festivals including the Montreal International Documentary Festival, DOK Leipzig, the Moscow International Film Festival and Doclisboa. A metamorfose dos pássaros is her debut feature film.


2014 Metáfora ou a tristeza virada do avesso (Metaphor or Sadness Inside Out); Short film 2020 A metamorfose dos pássaros (The Metamorphosis of Birds)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020