(Fig. 1 – movie poster)
“The Birds” (1963) directed by Alfred Hitchcock is a film that raises many questions about its existence. Can the movie be interpret scientifically or do we see the strange occurrings as symbolic? Filmsite.org talks about the symbolism in the film: “It is about three needy women (literally 'birds') - and a fourth from a younger generation - each flocking around and vying for varying degrees of affection and attention from the sole, emotionally-cold male lead, and the fragile tensions, anxieties and unpredictable relations between them.” (Filmsite.org, 2015) What is really striking in the film as well is the multiple motives of blindness, as if the characters cannot fully grasp what is happening even though it is right in front of them. Somehow the birds that attack are constantly aiming for people’s eyes, trying to blind them.
All of these attacks bring chaos and paranoia realistically represented by the neurotic woman in the restaurant (fig. 2). The whole scene in the restaurant, from start to finish, is an incredibly accurate representation of people in distress, or pushed further the restaurant can be a symbol of a single person’s mind. From the logical ornithologist, completely in denial of the happenings, to the religious nut, sitting in the corner, claiming that the Apocalypse is upon them. In this small enclosed space emotions are pushing people to their extremes and fear quickly escalates to terror. Xan Brooks talks about the panicked woman in the restaurant: “When teasing out the meaning of The Birds, many critics take their lead from the hysterical woman who links the attacks to Daniels' arrival ("I think you're the cause of all of this"). This implies that the birds are a manifestation of sex, some galvanic hormonal storm that whisks sleepy Bodega Bay into a great communal lather.” (Brooks, 2012)
“The Birds” is also a great example of Hitchcock’s ability to misdirect the audience. The film starts as a playful and romantic drama, which you can watch on a Sunday afternoon, and ends up being an Apocalyptic and symbolic representation of women (fig. 3). Bosley Crowther talks about that: “Notice how clear and naturalistic the narrative elements are: a plausible confrontation, beautiful scenery, a literal enactment of a playful intrigue—all very nicely arranged. Then, sneakily, Mr. Hitchcock tweaks us with a tentative touch of the bizarre. The plausible is interrupted by a peculiar avian caprice. A seagull attacks the young woman. Flocks of angry gulls whirl in the air. A swarm of sparrows swoops down a chimney and whirrs madly through a living room. And, then, before we know it, he is flying in shock waves of birds and the wild, mad, fantastic encounter with a phenomenon of nature is on.” (Crowther, 2015)
(Fig. 3 – movie still)
In conclusion, “The Birds” has this rare quality of provoking us, not to look, but to try and see, to observe and ponder. It makes the viewers think and what is really important for its legacy to live on- it does not provide us with any answers, it leaves us completely puzzled.
Fig. 1 - Impawards.com, (2015). The Birds: Extra Large Movie Poster Image - Internet Movie Poster Awards Gallery. [online] Available at: http://www.impawards.com/1963/birds_ver3_xlg.html [Accessed 4 Feb. 2015].
Fig. 2 - 3.bp.blogspot.com, (2015). [online] Available at: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CRBK_oJYQOo/SwDTLnC64VI/AAAAAAAAAyE/JyWhIOcvcgk/s1600/cap691.bmp [Accessed 4 Feb. 2015].
Fig. 3 - 4.bp.blogspot.com, (2015). [online] Available at: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-74fZuyl3vlk/TVfm4Gm00UI/AAAAAAAAAuA/2aNAamjKdb0/s1600/birds+3.png [Accessed 4 Feb. 2015].
Brooks, X. (2012). My favourite Hitchcock: The Birds. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2012/jul/31/my-favourite-hitchcock-the-birds [Accessed 4 Feb. 2015].
Crowther, B. (2015). Movie Review - The Birds - Screen: 'The Birds':Hitchcock's Feathered Fiends Are Chilling - NYTimes.com. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D05E7D9143CEF3BBC4953DFB2668388679EDE [Accessed 4 Feb. 2015].
Filmsite.org, (2015). The Birds (1963). [online] Available at: http://www.filmsite.org/bird.html [Accessed 4 Feb. 2015].