Birds dates from 1968, and is one of the first films made by Frans Zwartjes. But Zwartjes’ signature is immediately present: the film bears all the stylistic and formal characteristics that also characterize Zwartjes’ later films. The lack of a narrative structure, the restive, almost voyeuristic observations whereby the camera almost touches the skin of the actors, the quick edits, the sharp contrast, the erotic tension: these are properties that Zwartjes’ oeuvre is steeped in.
In Birds, Zwartjes films his wife Trix. Together with Moniek Toebosch, Lodewijk de Boer, and Christian Manders, she is among the permanent group of actors that Zwartjes used in his (early) films. They do not act in the traditional sense of the word, but instead let themselves be filmed by Zwartjes as they perform small, repetitive actions, or during performance-like rituals. For Zwartjes, it is not about the stories, but rather the way in which everything is filmed.