Previously at the ICA - Films

Alfred Hitchcock, The Birds, 1963

The Birds introduced by Suky Best

10 Jun 2014

Artist Suky Best, who recently completed an MPhil at the Royal College of Art London investigating the relationships between birds and film, introduces Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds - a complex film that has been interpreted in many different ways.

Ostensibly a creature feature in 1950s mould, this film also approaches its subject from entirely unexpected angles, setting out like a romantic comedy in which flighty (pun intended) socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) pursues suave lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) to his home on the idyllic California coast. While Mitch's mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy) seems none too happy to see this other woman, her arrival seems to bring something far worse upon the town. Birds randomly turn on humans – and romance turns jarringly to horror. As attacks increase in ferocity, the group must fight to survive – the threat made all the more disturbing by the fact that it has no explanation.

For some, the attacking birds are symbols of a malevolent female super ego which has to be controlled and contained, symbolising the emotions that the women characters are unable to express. Birds have always been seen as potent symbols of the doom of man and these are birds as nature amassed, an entire world that is erupting into murder and confusion and which can’t be reasoned with.

Suky Best's exhibition Wild Interior is at Danielle Arnaud contemporary art from 23 May to 15 June.

The Birds, dir. Alfred Hitchcock, US 1963, 119 mins

Please note that all films are 18+ unless otherwise stated.

 

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