Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)

(Camera Work)


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Main cast:

Riggan: Michael Keaton

Sam: Emma Stone

Jake: Zach Galifianakis

Lesley: Naomi Watts

Mike: Edward Norton

A very smartly directed movie, Birdman tries to make an attempt at a one shot movie and it perfectly works out as the seamless stitching makes all the shots so perfectly synced that the cuts are not observes until one pays total concentration only on noticing it. The cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, who won the Oscar for this movie, showed how talented he is as the movie was shot in 30 days in the spring of April 2013. The movie shot in the theatre of New York street 44, shows the story of an actor who tries to battle his ego as his character overtakes the fame he should have actually got as an actor. Michael Keaton plays the character of Riggan who was once playing the character of superhero Birdman and then moves out of his way to prove out to the world that he is a naturally talented actor, director and writer. Nothing goes his way, as Mike, played by Edward Norton steals the show and also flirts around with Keaton’s daughter in the movie makes the battle with ego even more difficult. The movie is ended with Keaton realizing his value and talent and gives up his ego to win back his family, career and himself. The movie won an Oscar for its camerawork which becomes the second Oscar for Lubezki, as he had won already for Gravity the previous year.


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The movie starts of with a birdman falling from the sky to the ground in the form of fire. The movie then moves out to Keaton practicing his strengths alone in a room and then it becomes difficult to find out a cut in the movie. The camera moves continuously from the first floor, which is the green room to the stage of the Broadway theatre. The scene was never broken as the continuous movement by all the actors from one part of the area to the other led the camera to move around freely. Of course the credit goes to the smart direction of keeping up with the pace and motives of every scene and not one exit which was followed by the camera moving out to the other space without the cut seemed unnecessary. The scene when Keaton broke the flower vase on the wall was immediately transferred to the press conference which was a very beautiful transition from one scene to the other without a cut. The movie was mostly filmed on a mazelike set, with additional location work at Broadway’s St. James Theatre. Lubezki stated in many interviews that lighting each scene was the most difficult trick and he gave kudos to his lights team for the tremendous effort. In order to achieve the look, the cast underwent shots that took anywhere from seven to ten minutes to the film.


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Personally, my favorite scene in the movie was when Riggan was walking down the street and the birdman was walking right behind him which was his ego. The intelligent dialogues where clearly indicating to the audience and the moment you realize it’s you being spoken of, the camera moves extremely fast taking different angles, and clearly no cut, starts getting in action effects which suddenly breaks the build up and gets you back to the movie right at the moment you break apart from it. Very smartly directed and very amazingly pulled off by Lubezki, the movie defines how important the camera work is in a movie and the role of a perfect cinematographer and an intelligent director, can bring you a couple of Oscars.

Official Trailer:



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