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Western Animation / Paradise (1984)

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The blackbird dancing.

Paradise is an animated short film by Ishu Patel. It was produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

A blackbird lives somewhere in India, near the sultan's palace. The blackbird flies to the sultan's window and finds that the sultan has a glorious magic bird that he keeps in a tower. The magic bird is a shapeshifter and can transform itself into almost any form, changing size, shape, and color in a series of brilliant displays for the entertainment of the sultan.

The blackbird watches the magic bird perform for the sultan and is enchanted. It then decides to fashion itself into a beautiful bird for the benefit of the sultan. It paints it black feathers blue with berries, fashions a fake beak, and steals a lot of more colorful feathers from other birds. With all this finery the now unrecognizable blackbird swoops into the palace and performs for the sultan. The sultan is entertained—but with unexpected consequences for the blackbird.


The soundtrack is by Gheorge Zamfir, aka "Zamfir, master of the pan flute."


  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The blackbird longs to be beautiful and dance for the sultan like the magic bird does. It works, the sultan is impressed—and the blackbird is clapped into a cage and hung from a tree outside the palace grounds. Luckily, a storm rolls in and knocks the cage from the tree, breaking it open and freeing the blackbird.
  • Bird People: One of the shapes that the magic bird can assume is that of a bird man, a humanoid with arms and legs but still with a bird face and wings.
  • Full Moon Silhouette: The blackbird poses in front of the moon at the end, as all its prettier bird friends dance for it.
  • Gilded Cage: Eventually the blackbird realizes that for the magic bird the beautiful palace is a gilded cage. This realization is driven home when the blackbird is put in a decidedly less beautiful cage.
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  • The Makeover: The blackbird gives itself one, transforming from a humble blackbird to a glamorous, if somewhat garish, multicolored bird. It's played for comedy, though—the ornate fake tail the blackbird is wearing makes it harder to fly, and its fake beak falls off while it's dancing for the sultan.
  • One-Word Title: Paradise
  • Silence Is Golden: No dialogue, only Zamfir's soundtrack.