Hitchcock and his famous movie The Birds.
Behind this nightmare of Hitchcock’s, again a 1953 story by Daphne du Maurier (the third of this author from whom the director draws films).
The movie tells of an attack on humans by hungry birds after a harsh winter in a small town in California.
Hitchcock adapts the suspenseful noir tale ten years later in 1963 and makes it even more disturbing in the movie‘s transposition.
The coming of the birds on Bodega Bay in California
Why are the birds attacking all of a sudden? And why do the birds mysteriously stop their attacks?
No bloody scene, as the director usually does because he doesn’t like to reveal the violence at all. The suspense must only suggest terror, not horror, but fear.
Bodega bay, a quiet country suddenly becomes a scene of war.
Birds attack, increase their presence, follow people, do not distinguish between children and the elderly and kill with ferocity.
Hitchcock and Bodega Bay
Hitchcock brings human anxieties to life in six months of shooting, including three for the ten seconds of the final scene and one year of post-production.
Almost devoid of music, with long and distressing scenes, it is a masterpiece presented at Cannes out of competition in 1963.
The destructive cloud of crows arrives on a quiet town with dark and frightening skies, after a tenebrous and cold winter with little food for the birds.
It is a revolt of nature against man, we could say today, a clear metaphor for a world exploited by human selfishness that takes up its spaces.
Especially in this lock down period in which I write, I feel this revolt of nature that silently comes to kill us.
Birds in this film represent freedom, lost lightness. And the executioner man becomes this time the victim of the birds.
The destruction is a metaphor for a world that is heading towards catastrophe, and we are only in 1963.
Why do the birds kill?
Some scientists have tried to answer this enigma of the film with concrete explanations: Hitchcock’s Birds are birds poisoned by toxic plankton in polluted seas.
Moreover, a handhold to reality already existed back then.
Police officer Ed Cunningham was on patrol on the night of 1961 when a flood of birds fell on his car.
The officer told the Santa Cruz Sentinel in 1961: “By the time I had stopped the car they were raining down all around me“.
So Hitchcock adds to Daphne du Maurier‘s story, the chronicle from California.
The writer du Maurier herself is a seemingly quiet woman, with a quiet life around the world with a noble husband.
She writes in a romantic-gothic style, her plots are disturbing, with a high level of suspense.
The Birds, perhaps the most innovative story, is full of dreamlike visions and some think it is the denial of harmony and the mutation of roles in nature.
A visionary and contemporary film, we would say this The Birds.
Open to many explanations.
In The Birds, the birds symbolize the uninhibited and unbridled power of nature.
The birds win, and we don’t stand a chance.
But the birds are also us, predators of nature, victims of our wretched way of exploiting the planet.
Mrs. Bundy, the expert ornithologist who’s Hitchcock’s voice in the film, says..:
“Birds are not aggressive creatures, miss. They bring beauty into the world,”… “It is mankind rather who insists upon making it difficult for life to exist on this planet.“
A clear, environmentalist message that has something to do with the problem.
Right in a film of suspense, a thriller that talks about attacks by birds and dead people and the nightmare of human life that no longer has power over nature.
I understood in that direction the reading of the film, which I consider one of the most current, metaphorical and enlightening cinematographic works on climate change on the planet. Despite being in the category of thrillers and not catastrophic films.
In reality the ending is open and does not decree the end or the success of mankind and in my opinion this is its strength.
Why The Birds Hitchcock Scarf?
Why make a scarf out of this very movie?
Precisely for the reasons I just mentioned.
It’s a warning to our attitude towards nature, it’s a symbol of our responsibility to the planet.
But it’s also a tribute to a director that I love very much, capable of giving us the worst nightmares without dwelling on macabre aspects, on violent or bloody scenes.
His films give life to our worst nightmares in an atmosphere of seemingly quiet everyday life.
A scarf repeating the phrase about bird kindness by Mrs. Bundy, with a blood red background.
A red one at sunset, evoking anxiety.
And repeated countless times, Hitchcock’s silhouette became famous not only on the cinematic screen but also on television.
We know about the cameos that Hitchcock made in all his films.
Even in The Birds, he is a man who comes out of the bird shop wearing two white fox-terriers on a leash.
Here is the highly environmentalist trailer that Hitchcock made for the presentation of the film The Birds.
We could say that the director had understood exactly the mistakes we were making and are making with nature.
With irony and clear and simple words, he conveys to us all our cruelty towards birds.