The Bird Can't Fly

Musical Score By: Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Based on a dramatic novel by Dutch novelist Threes Anna, The Bird Canít Fly stars Barbara Hershey as Melody, an aging hotel chef.  When Melody returns home to Fairlands for her estranged daughter Juneís funeral, she is in for quite a shock.  It turns out that her daughter never told her she had a grandson.  Even more shocking is the fact that ten-year-old River is the leader of a local gang of children who use ostriches to get around.  The sands of the desert have overtaken Fairlands, burying everything she remembers.  Even the hotel is buried under the sand, itís sign barely seen above the grains.  But the desert canít bury the pain of Melodyís past.  When those very same sands threaten to destroy Melodyís hopes of raising River, she decides to fight back.  Seeking him out and taking shelter from a sandstorm with River, Melody finally discovers a way to bond with the child and perhaps a way to make her new dream come true.

            The soundtrack of The Bird Canít Fly is composed by the team of Mark Killian and Paul Hepker.  Mark Kiiian is a South African musician and composer who began his music career as a jazz pianist, working with local jazz and rock bands and performing in musical theater.  It was after his graduation from USC that he began working in the Hollywood movie business, writing, orchestrating, programming and conducting on such movies as The Matrix: Reloaded, Species, Copycat, La Mission and Before the Rains Paul Hepker, born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, trained as a concert pianist and toured the world as a member of the Grammy-nominated band Johnny Clegg and Savuka before becoming a movie score composer, creating the musical score for such documentaries as Into the Light and Where the Water Meets the Sky as well as numerous television series.  Mark Killian and Paul Hepker teamed up in 2005 to create the musical score for Tsotsi and again in 2007 for the dramatic thriller Rendition.

            The musical score of The Bird Canít Fly has a definite exotic sound that perfectly expresses the locale of the film.  The music is sometimes quirky depending on the scene, but most times holds a special sort of sadness born of regret and old pain suffered by the main character in the film.  The composers use background vocals as well as slide guitars, percussion and other more exotic instruments to enhance the exotic sound as well as the drama taking place in each scene.  There is a haunting quality that pervades much of the score, but every so often a bit of determination and awakening peeks through.

            The innovation and culture of the team of Kilian and Hepker shines through on this album.  The Bird Canít Fly contains some of the most beautiful exotic score I have ever come across.  Each of the composer adds his own special touch to the soundtrack which perfectly expresses the emotion and drama of the film as well as the surroundings of the locale.  The Bird Canít Fly musical score has an intrinsic beauty to it that makes it perfect as background music in film as well as a standalone musical album.


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