Birdman – An excellent film to watch

We were on our way back from the US. It’s Liberty airport in New york, a very busy international airport. As usual we went through a thorough security drill where one is stripped of all personal belongings – purse, mp3, laptop, keys, pens, cell phones, belt, shoes, passport etc. One cannot afford to be forgetful till one gets into the plane. I would think a training in mindfulness practices of Zen is a must before a foreign travel. Crossing all hurdles, finally, we reached the departure gate and got into the plane eventually.
I normally keep a book handy on such long journeys. This time around, I forgot to do so and had to depend on my MP3. I listened to recorded music concerts on my MP3 untill the batteries gave up and then turned to the movie list on offer. Lucky for me, I zeroed in on a good film, Birdman, which won the academy award for Best picture in 2014.

The film is about an ex-cine superstar actor who became a celebrity in his heydays. He lost his celebrity status and his career became stagnant. So, he wanted to reinvent himself by producing and directing an ambitious Broadway adaptation of a short story by Raymond Carver- ‘What we talk about when we talk about love’. With this, he hoped to breathe new life into his career and prove that he was indeed a creative artist.

The story revolves around his inability to come to terms with his loss of celebrity status. He was living under the shadow of his own past image. He keeps hearing voices of his youthful self(of birdman fame) who mocks and criticizes him. The film shows the obstacles he faces in bringing about the Broadway production, his initial failures, his ego trips, his encounters with his critics (including his girlfriend) who were out to destroy his premier shows with bad reviews. His struggle to come to terms with his loss of fame was brought out beautifully when his daughter tells at one point: “Dad, this play is just your vanity project. You better get used to not being a celebrity anymore!”

This line impresses me because many of us can relate this to our own lives! This is a fact of life. Many of our problems and misery arise from our failure to get used to changes in our life. Not accepting changes in our lives, we start our own pet vanity projects causing problems to everyone. A retired person cannot get used to his loss of power, prestige and name and fame, not to talk of his earnings. An aging woman cannot get used to her loss of youthful beauty (hence the thriving cosmetic industry!). She also cannot get used to the fact that her children are no more dependent and hence do not need her sermons anymore! A politician stripped of power can create havoc at home! One can go on and on with several examples.
Added to this problem is the constant conflict between the ideal me and the real me. Like in the case of the hero of the film, we’re tormented constantly by voices from our ‘ideal selves’ we always wanted to be!

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Published in: on May 30, 2015 at 1:06 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. Well said. I am staying in a Retirement Community amidst a number of Seniors who had occupied High Positions in their Professional life.Many of them are unable to get used to a “common man” facility. I find especially senior retired bureaucrats are very much handicapped by the fact that they do not have the same POWER and RESPECT(!) they had in their heydays.


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