Wednesday, 7 January 2015

New Year 2015 Birdman review

iphone case design - a Christmas pressie - a mobile cycling - themed business card. 
Who does business cards any more? Even "free" sites expect you to pay a premium to upload your own design - who on earth would do that? Why would an artist or illustrator want business cards with those free templates designed by someone else?
A little birdy has been kind enough to gift this. The quote is legible, but the colour has gone - see cushion cover below for rainbow antlers.

There's a considerable amount of good films out at the moment - The Theory Of Everything is on my list - but the first film seen in 2015 was Birdman, or "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance" with Michael Keaton.

For Cloudbusting, this is integral to looking at the genre of films based on graphic novels and comics, especially with regard to how the film takes a spin at Keaton's former role as "Batman", and superhero films.
Turned on its head, the film is about an actor that plays a superhero, shot very creatively in behind-the-scenes and on-stage in the theatre setting in which Keaton's Birdman actor is working on a play. This is very Jean Baudrillard - here's the real actor behind a fictional blockbusting superhero movie, with his former superhero character plaguing him, or inspiring him, following him everywhere he goes, whatever he does, in much the same way that A-ha get plagued by their iconic Take On Me single and video, even though they produced far more interesting work after that.
And you wonder about his mental state - is he schizophrenic (many superheroes have split personalities) or is the projection of his former character something that is constantly placed upon him by others? Something that became so huge, albeit fictional, it became real?
In a lecture attended before Christmas by Baroness Susan Greenfield, all about the mind, and how contemporary technology affects human development, it was noted that when you play a piano, certain areas of the brain come into play, and if you pretend to play a piano with your fingers, the same neurological connections happen as if you were really playing a piano.
Creativity was cited as being able to imagine things, as being integral to human development, and the development of the mind. So if an actor were to play a fictional role such as Batman, or Birdman, he then becomes that character - Michael Keaton is Batman. He is also an actor playing the fictional superhero Birdman, so is it more real, or does it become second order simulacrum? In that Batman was originally a comic book character that became a film, and there have actually been Batman films, and you can go in any comic book store and buy Batman comics. But Birdman isn't a comic book character, and his role in the film is as a fictional superhero blockbuster such as Batman, Superman or Spiderman. In many ways he is more real, as Batman's public persona isn't the very actor that plays him. Other actors have played Batman, but no one else can possibly be Birdman!
It's a real head job, that works on many levels, and is also very funny! I look forward to Birdman 2 :-)

1 comment:

A Knight's Tales said...

I don't think that he was schizophrenic; it's possible that his old character was haunting him. I agree the film is very much shown in a way that commits the delusional to the real but I think what it was for Keaton's character was a midlife crisis and the fact that he no one gives a damn about what's going on outside, no one cares for the real... instead they choose to look at art to try and feel the real. The art isn't the real yet the audience pay to see something that they can no longer sense/smell outside in the real world.