31 Days Of Dreadtober: The True Plight Of The Birds

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Day 28

The Birds Official Teaser Trailer posted by Movieclips Classic Trailers

I have seen Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds two times in my life now. The first time was when my dad was exposing me to Hitchcock when I was young. It is the not-so-secret hope of all fathers that their sons should inherit their loves and passions. Hitchcock’s work made a mark on my father, perhaps it would do the same to his son. We started with Psycho and even as a young man I understood its merits, its undeniable effects on cinema as a whole.

However, The Birds was a whole other matter entirely. To me, the premise was preposterous and hardly scary. I had grown up in a world where CGI had become a powerhouse before my very eyes. I had seen Jurrasic Park when I was four. The effects in The Birds looked silly in comparison.

I also hated the ambiguous nature of the film. Hitchcock never really explains why the avian community has turned against humanity, though it doesn’t stop his characters from offering their own hypotheses. He also leaves the crisis unresolved. For all we know, the birds are still out to get us in Bodega Bay.

I watched The Birds for a second time last night with the eye of a developed storyteller. The film does not stringently adhere to the traditional three-act structure, it plays out much more like a sonnet. It is and then it ends. The Birds is less about a plot and much more about its character’s emotional flaws.

The Birds(1963)- Universal Pictures

The movie starts off as a romantic comedy. You can’t help, but be charmed by these two beautiful people as they play their sexual chess match. However, we slowly realize that these games are driven less by the untamed sensual playfulness of youth and more by their compulsive need for individuality. Everyone’s brittle emotional temperament causes them to hold people at arm’s length, rather than risk being wounded by a rejection that may never come to pass.

My earlier assumption that The Birds offers no resolution was wrong. By film’s end, each of the characters embraces each other as family, signifying a healing of their previous emotional traumas. Oddly enough, The Birds is far less about the plight of the bird attacks and much more about the plights we inflict upon each other.

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