Tonight 7 September 2022 the film will be broadcast in prime time on Rai Movie, channel 24 of the digital terrestrial network Birdman.
The film in 2015 won well four Academy Awardsa David di Donatello and two Golden Globes confirming themselves as the revelation of the year.
Directed by the Mexican director and film producer Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is an atypical comedy that fades into noir. By plumbing the soul of his protagonist, a little-appreciated actor who tries to regain his lost fame, the director investigates some key issues of today’s society: such as ego, ambition, public exposure, the concept of social approval that it is different from that of love.
To bring such complex themes to the big screen, Iñárritu used a clever device: literature. The central plot of the entire film is in fact based on the theatrical adaptation of a famous story by Raymond Carver What do we talk about when we talk about love (1982) which gives the title to the homonymous collection of the American author. A work in the work that creates an interesting effect of narrative split: in fact, Carver’s minimalist and essential style can be seen as an excellent key to reading the entire film.
Self Birdman it won the Academy Award for Best Film, Best Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Original Screenplay, after all it owes a little to Raymond Carver.
In the cast of the film we find Michael Keaton in the role of the protagonist, flanked by Emma Stone, Naomi WattsEdward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Mike Houston and Frank Ridley.
Let’s find out more in depth now plot And trailer of the film and the reasons for his due to Carver’s fiction.
Birdman: the plot
The film tells the story of Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton, Ed), an actor made famous in the 90s by the interpretation of a comic book superhero “Birdman”. Now Riggan is a disappointed and dissatisfied man, immobilized in the swamps of a stagnant career, who wants to prove to the critics that he is a true artist and not a meteor of the star system.
He then tries to regain fame by putting on a Broadway play based on Carver’s tale What do we talk about when we talk about love.
However, the staging will not be easy at all and Riggan will have to face countless difficulties both on a professional and personal level. In fact, his artistic anguish and economic worries add to the problems of the actor protagonist of the play, the ambitious Mike Shiner (Edward Norton, Ed.), And his daughter Sam (Emma Stone, Ed.) Who has just come out of a path of rehabilitation for drug addiction. In his constant need for public approval Riggan neglected his family and forgot that he was a father.
In the days leading up to the evening of the premiere Riggan will find himself overwhelmed by a whirlwind of unmanageable emotions that threaten him by appearing to him in the form of an alter ego, the historical character he played, “Birdman”.
His character’s voice judges him mercilessly, blaming him for all the mistakes he has made in his life. Is the play the triumph of an artistic career or a simple act of vanity? Will Riggan Thomson be able to break out of his character and save himself?
Raymond Carver’s poem in Birdman
At the opening of the film the brilliant Iñárritu inserts, not by chance, the verses of a famous poem by Raymond Carver entitled A new path to the waterfalbut better known in Italian with the title of Last fragment.
The lyric includes some verses that were engraved on the writer’s grave in the Port Angeles cemetery. The incipit of the film Birdman brings back these verses at the beginning:
And you got what
did you want from this life, despite everything?
And what is it that you wanted?
To hear me call loved, to hear me
loved on earth.
Precisely these verses by Carver quoted at the beginning already contain in a nutshell the meaning of the entire film and, in particular, the feeling that transports the spectators throughout the course of the vision: “Feel loved on earth.” After all, what is the protagonist Riggan Thomson looking for all the time if not to satisfy this voracious hunger and constantly dissatisfied with love?
The need for love, for social approval, is closely associated with the feeling of happiness. Love represents the extreme fulfillment of man in this life and it is precisely what the protagonist chases in the impossible search for him. The moral meaning of Birdman it can finally be summarized in the title of Carver’s short story which gives the title to the play What do we talk about when we talk about love, subplot of the entire work. It would be enough to transform Carver’s prose into a question, adding a final question mark: what do we talk about when we talk about love? We talk about many things: expectations, projects and hopes, jealousy and above all freedom.
The film Birdman by Alejandro González Iñárritu tries in his own way to give the answer: love and social approval are two different things. Love cannot be measured in the same way that success or likes on social media are measured, because it is above all a way of giving oneself without expecting anything in return. Riggan Thomson will learn love, and consequently also happiness, only by forgetting himself and his famous character. Only by abdicating from himself and from his cumbersome ego can he find the meaning of his impossible search for him.
This the lesson of Birdmanbut basically also that of Raymond Carver. The American writer had had the merit of introducing the reader to the poetry of the everyday recounting, with extreme minimalism, portraits of a provincial life. The protagonists of Carver were poor and often desperate men, men who navigate as they can in existence without even thoroughly investigating its meaning: in this crowds teeming with characters, the image of the new America came to life, the same current society made up of ambitions disproportionate and incommunicable solitudes that Birdman try to represent.