The Work of Birds

Notes on the Soul

Walter Benjamin’s final journey.

During his flight from the Nazis in September 1940, Walter Benjamin takes an old smugglers’ route that leads from the French border town of Banyuls-sur-Mer to Portbou in northern Spain. Shortly after he arrives, he commits suicide.

Eight decades later, Marica Bodrožić follows the trail of the great German writer and philosopher. Benjamin’s final journey is her starting point for musings about our time, about the complexity of life and identity, about friendship and flight. Her walk across the Pyrenees becomes a pilgrimage: she experiences nature as a synaesthetic tapestry, where the external mountain landscape intermingles with her inner one, reawakening memories of her formative childhood in Dalmatia. Bodrožić artfully interweaves her thoughts with the lives of other people who have crossed borders – such as the resistance fighter Lisa Fittko and the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam.