Second Look : Hitchcock: The Birds; Edwards: The Party; Scott: Blade Runner; Ruzowitzky: Anatomy; Scott: Gladiator Hardback
Text in English & German. Like literary texts, films often tell stories on multiple levels.
Ridley Scott made an ironic reference to this when he called his legendary science-fiction film Blade Runner a "700-layer cake".
These buried structures are created in two ways: by elements that resonate throughout the film itself and by references to other films, texts, myths, paintings, historical events etc. that are adapted in a specific way by the director, the scriptwriter and the production team.
The heroine in Hitchcock's film The Birds, for instance, is a modern Aphrodite / Venus.
Just as Venus, born from the sea foam, was carried to land on a seashell, Melanie is carried across Bodega Bay in a boat that is not much bigger than Venus' vessel in Botticelli's painting.
Melanie's name is another reference to Aphrodite, who was also known as Melaina, "the black one".
In the fist scene of the film, in which she enters the pet shop where she later gets to know Mitch and buys the love birds, Melanie is also dressed in black.
The Venus-like Melanie is felt to be a threat by others within their world, and especially by more conventional women. One of them screams at her hysterically: "I think you're evil!
Evil!". This creates a particular connection between love and horror in the film.
The classical Aphrodite also had a dark side -- her union with Ares produced not only Harmonia, but also Deimos and Phobos: "dread" and "fear".
Detecting hidden references is only the first step in creating an analysis; the next step is to elucidate the function of the reference within the film.
For instance, what does it mean that Hitchcock's heroine is attacked by birds, whereas Venus was depicted accompanied by a dove? And why does Melanie, our "Venus", wear furs? Kirsch's investigations of this and other questions open up new perspectives on a number of films, with extensive illustrations allowing the reader to follow these in detail.
The book invites us to take a second look at The Birds, Blake Edwards' The Party, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and Gladiator and Stefan Ruzowitzky's Anatomy.
Konrad Kirsch is a PhD in literature and an enthusiastic viewer of films.
He has published texts on Georg Buchner, Elias Canetti, Robert Walser, Franz Kafka and William Shakespeare. Most recently, his article on Heinrich von Kleist was published in the Zeitschrift fur deutsche Philologie.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 160 pages, 250 colour illustrations
- Publisher: Edition Axel Menges
- Publication Date: 18/10/2012
- Category: Performance art
- ISBN: 9783936681543