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Cinematography in Birdman

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The film Birdman directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu stresses the importance of cinematography in filmmaking and creates fluid transitions from one scene to the other, making the movie seem like it has been filmed all in one take. He also uses the motion of the camera, whether shaky, fast or slow moving, to stress certain people and certain scenes. He creates this fluidity to reflect the importance of fluidity in plays, giving the audience a deeper connection with the film.

The film Birdman starts with the camera moving slowly and gradually gaining speed, warming the audience up to this certain style of cinematography. It also gives the audience a better and clearer look at the “behind-the-scenes” of a theatre.

During the film, when the actors are on stage and are having a dialect with each other, the camera is constantly in motion, and circles the actors that are speaking. This entices the audience and gives them perspectives of each of the actors speaking.

Off stage, when there seems to be an intense, but brief pause, the camera stops moving to give emphasis on the emptiness caused by that silence. But when a conversation becomes argumentative and angry with lots of emotion, the camera shakes and moves quickly if the actors are walking.

One of the reasons for keeping the film in seemingly one shot may be because Iñárritu wanted the film to be as close to what a play might feel like to the audience and to the cast members where in a play, one cannot stop and redo a scene. Iñárritu could have also wanted the audience to feel a sense of exhaustion from watching the film. By making it seem like one camera shot, the audience could have felt that they could not relax.

In the last fifteen minutes of the film, the audience can see recognizable scene changes in quick succession of one another. This signifies the end of the play and reiterates the stress the main actor had while producing and acting in the play but has now been lifted off of him.

Birdman emphasizes fluidity in cinematography and uses that fluidity to create a film that does not have a dull moment where the audience is left sitting on the edge of their seat. It dramatizes the actors and scenes by producing faster or slower camera movements and by shaking or stopping the camera as well. This cinematography gives the audience a whole new language to interpret which sets it apart from other films.

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