The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2005)
Telegraph Hill is a neighborhood in one of the hillier sections of San Francisco that over the years has become home to a large flock of wild parrots. While no one is certain how they got there, the birds were for the most part left to their own devices until they were discovered by Mark Bittner. A street musician and self-described "Dharma bum," Bittner had no practical background in ornithology when he first encountered the parrots, but it wasn't long before he developed a close bond with them and took it upon himself to feed and care for the birds, and even gave many of them names. Bittner's friendship with the parrots became a growing experience that taught the guitarist as much about himself as it did about the birds, and with the passage of time, his work earned him the respect of his community as well as a home. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is a documentary which recounts the story of Bittner and his birds, as well as an unexpected twist of fate which added a poignant note to their tale. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
The beautiful shots of San Francisco's lush Telegraph Hill are captivating by themselves, but the film's greatest achievement is its humanity.
A bright window into the wild kingdom just outside our door that most of us barely notice, if at all.
A cornball charmer of a film with some beautiful birds and homespun wisdom.
Charming, intelligent entertainment that should attract the same family audiences that flocked to Winged Migration in 2001.
Profile of a gentle, caring, and sensitive man who models for us the empathy and respect we should have for all animals large and small.
A documentary which captures an eccentric ornithologist communing with his flock with an intimacy that's almost unimaginable.
Irving captures some memorable images… but generally relies on the birds' natural photogenic charm as well as the human dimensions of the drama to sustain the 83-minute film.
Perhaps if Judy Irving's The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill had been released in any other year, I wouldn't be so judgmental and hard to please
In the spirit of all good documentaries, Wild Parrots transcends its ostensive subject.
The birds...are a natural subject for a documentary film, but in the end Judy Irving's film is as much or more about Mark Bittner, a self-appointed guardian of the flock, than it is about the birds themselves.
Amusing, touching and satisfying, this gentle yet probing little doco is a hand made movie whose simplicity and its subject matter are pluses.
Even though it's only August, I'm not going out on a limb when I say that "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" is one of the best films of the year.
How animals can sometimes, like art, serve as a reflection of the hopes and fears of their caretakers.
A quietly profound way to understand the importance of mankind's relationship with nature.
Director Judy Irving has created a picture that should fascinate not only bird lovers, but general audiences.
... objections recede in the face of the prime fact of this movie: It makes us feel better about being human.
The tables are turned in The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. In this mentally invigorating nonfiction film, parrots inspire a human to talk.
Something about the way in which it's been told can turn even a fellow fauna fancier into a harrumphing curmudgeon.
Its sweet surprise ending may be the most satisfying movie moment of the year to date.
Audience Reviews for The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
A beautiful documentary about a truly unique subject. However, I question the motivation, the "honesty" behind closing with the highly speculative killing of Connor by the hawk. As in all life writing, I also question the "truth," in this case, of "miraculously" returning to the scene to capture Connor on film on his last day of life. Kind of reminds me of Jack Nicholson lauding the rule of coincidence in our lives in The Passenger.More
A look at the flock of wild parrots that live in a neighborhood of San Fransisco and the remarkable individual (Mark Bittner) that studied and cared for them over a period of years. Mark was able to interact with the birds on a personal level, calling them by name, to nurse them through injuries and disease, and yet allowed them to remain free. He has also written a book about his experiences. This was fascinating. The extras include well over an hour of additional footage and information about the the birds and their lives since the footage that was used in the main body of the film. This film reached me on a deeper level than I exected. I found myself invested in the lives of these magnificent creatures and the man whose heart was tuned to them and was quite moved by this film.More
I think we all know someone like this. A guy who just plants himself somewhere to become part of the neighbourhood, just hanging out an appreciating. He discovers the parrots of Telegraph Hill who, like him, are strangers to the City and an interesting relationship is created. Providing you with information on the final interesting relationship would be too much of give away.More
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