Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why are The Birds yet to come?

The Birds are all about Freud and the power of the maternal leash that does not stay off her male child according to Slavoj Zizek and his Pervert's Guide to Cinema. Valid analysis for me, but I could also take the one that states that we have on screen a graphic example of nature attacking back, after years and years of slavery under man's indifferent hands.

That would have been the introduction to this post dedicated on one of my favourite films by Hitchcock, one of the least well-crafted, apparently -always according to mad reviewers. It's true that even the scenarist of the film is not happy with the result himself, as the script was partially rewritten, scenes were cut and many things didn't make much sense in the final product. But, I love it anyways and I would elaborate on such details, had this post been finalised some time ago. The rest of the post would be dedicated to trivia like the Rammstein song Ohne Dich, one of my favourites, where the birds feature in the lyrics; why is this relevant? Only because The Birds in German become Die Vogel and in this very close to my heart song the birds are not singing any more because she left (und die vogel singen nicht mehr, and yes, they even called it German poetry, and I dig it). 

But, well, that post comes months late; I started researching before some life changing events, and now things just cannot be so romantic any more. I love the film and I also like birds singing outside my window whenever I wake up, but I am plain interested in the intrigues of film production or in the arty consequences of it all. For quite some years now this particular remake is announced, only to end up creating online buzz for nothing. It did not materialise up to now, not yet. The only new stuff out there,  except for the breaking news now and again, related to The Birds are: a) a collector's Barbie doll, sporting the same green dress and suit, and even some black birds worn as a headpiece (don't try it at home) and b) the funny combination of Angry Birds and the -even more angry- Hitchcock birds.

People not quite like the idea of the remake, but then, again, it would be cool to star Naomi Wats (I very much see her as a Hedren successor). Tippi herself, though, became The Girl and spilled out everything, slashing our ideas of the great master of the suspense, portraying him as some short of  a monster (well, nobody's perfect). But, to cut a long story short: do any of these info spoil our cinematic joy when being confronted with a capricious blond girl following her pray, only to becomes the birds pray herself?  It doesn't; I know that fans still appreciate every little detail on how Hitchcock had wonderful artists on the set working on the matte paintings -that's why the film has sometimes weird ghost-like looks when it comes to landscapes: they are not exactly real. On how he had people trying to make mechanical birds (!), but failing -there's the whole story of the making of nicely put for whoever is interested.

Still, this remake story took yet another turn: according to insider information, Greek director Dennis Iliades is now the happy-go-lucky guy to direct The Birds. This move takes the project a bit deeper in the gore genre, if you know Dennis' filmography a little bit, and the ratings do change substantially, but, oh well, I would still be delighted to see another take on one of the master's most bizarre film. 

Another reason I love The Birds (and Hitchcock as a leading figure in visual art in general) is because it inspired a lot of artists; talking about posters' art here. It originally had a pretty standard poster,  retro-kitsch-for our post-modern taste, unlike Vertigo's by acclaimed  Saul Bass, but look at the great work that contemporary graphic designers produced as a tribute to the film, and you'll be amazed. Some of my favourites: the feather poster, or the one by Laz Marquez vaguely inspired by the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, these that take upon the director's own silhouette  to play with and a new addition to the web, that insinuates an internalised mania or something. And the one I use here, of course, "the author is dead, his oeuvre has killed him" take. It's a great discovery every time just witnessing how nicer the official poster could be if the companies look at the right place for help (success stories do exist, where a production company takes fan poster into consideration for the final product, as the paradigm of Django shows). In fact, they did a better work when it came to the 100th anniversary of Universal Pictures, cool visuals there.

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