Obviously made on the shortest of shoestrings, Nightbirds follows the relationship between Dee (Julie Shaw) and Dink (Berwick Kaler), two hippies living in squalor in her dingy rooftop flat at Spitalfields, East London.
Shaw is particularly memorable as the beautiful but sociopathic Dee. In one chilling moment, after she sends away Dink’s only friend – a maternal figure called Mabel (Elaine Shore) – with a series of venomous profanities, we see her mask her sadistic glee with a caring look as she goes back to nursing the injured Dink.
While Dink is clearly socially inept and inexperienced with women (thanks to years of mental abuse at the hands of his overbearing mother), he strikes up an intensely sexual relationship with Dee. The good times soon give way to jealousy, however, as Dee disapproves of any woman Dink strikes up a conversation with, and Dink becoming increasingly frustrated at the frequent presence of Dee’s creepy Irish neighbour.
This is a slow and plodding film, but with a surprising downbeat conclusion that is definitely worth the wait.
American director Andy Milligan recorded the soundtrack to his movies directly onto the film strip as he shot the footage, courtesy of the ‘Auricon’, a special newsreel camera that was also favoured by Andy Warhol.