A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Un Senior Muy Viejo con Unas Alas Enormes)

Institute History

  • 1989 Sundance Film Festival


Fernando Birri is one of the pioneers of the new Latin American cinema, a much venerated figure whose contribution extends well beyond the extraordinary films he has made. A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is full of the fabulist images we have come to associate with Marquez’s rich prose.

During a cyclone, a very old man with enormous wings falls on the coast near a small Colombian farmhouse owned by Pelayo and Elisenda. Mystified by this strange object, Pelayo puts it in the chicken coop, because the only things he has seen with wings are hens.

The presence of this celestial provocateur attracts a stream of pilgrims, who hope to find cures for their ailments. then a traveling carnival arrives, bringing with it the spider woman: Disquieting events occur, which only little Anajan is capable of understanding. Birri’s direction is superbly imaginative. He consistently finds the right tone to bring Marquez’s amazing thoughts and images to the screen.

— Piers Handling, Festival of Festivals

Screening Details

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