WORTH WATCHING

Watch This: Comparing the Similarities of 'Birdman' & 'Black Swan'

by
March 3, 2015
Source: FSR

Birdman & Black Swan

Ever since Iñárritu's Birdman won Best Picture (and a bunch of other Oscars) a week ago, the film has received plenty of criticism and negativity. I, however, will defend the film as I think it's an exciting and original look at the struggles of artistry, told through the opening of a stage performance. One of my other favorite films in recent year was another Oscar winner, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, and it is very similar to Birdman in many ways. Thanks to a tip from Film School Rejects, an editor named Miguel Branco has cut together a video showing side-by-side visual comparisons between Birdman and Black Swan. It's rather mesmerizing to watch set to Alexandre Desplat's lovely "Wong Chia Chi's Theme" from Lust, Caution.

Here's the "Blackbird" video comparison showing scenes from both films side-by-side. In full on YouTube:

His official description: "New York City — two artists, two opening nights, two rival figures, and one center stage. Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Birdman bares many striking resemblances to Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, in terms of plot, characters, and on-screen imagery. Having seen both films beforehand is highly recommended." Indeed. He makes a pretty convincing argument with this video, doesn't he? But then again, it makes sense that these two talented filmmakers would explore similar topics about artist's egos and the challenges of live production, as they are experienced artists themselves. As similar as both films look, they did have different DPs: Oscar-winner Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman, and should've-been-the-Oscar-winner Matthew Libatique for Black Swan. It is quite beautiful to watch their work side-by-side like this.

Take a look above and let us know what you think. You can find more of Miguel's video work on YouTube.

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Reader Feedback - 9 Comments

1

Seems extremely tenuous to me. Each film has a creature with wings, a dialogue scene, a mirror, a person walking, and a title card. Wow. I suppose it's fine to call the video "beautiful" if you wish, but I disagree with any convincing argument being made. Yes, they're both stage performances with avian characters, that's obvious. No one's gonna sit here and say Hollywood is 100% innovative. Picking a few arbitrarily matching details to help solidify that connection doesn't do the observation any justice, though; if anything, the "oh hey wow look that statue has wings...there were wings in Birdman too OMG" tone of the clip makes a meaningful discussion/comparison less likely.

Wafffles on Mar 3, 2015

2

Have you even seen the films? The parallel goes beyond mere avian imagery. The psychological, emotional and even physical journeys the two protagonists go through in both films are remarkably similar. They both are obsessed about success in their art form, one with past glory and the other with present perfection. They both struggle with alter-egos that haunt them and drive them to near death, but in the end gives them the freedom/perfection they've been striving for.

dee on Mar 3, 2015

3

Have you even seen the films? The parallel goes beyond mere avian imagery. The psychological, emotional and even physical journeys the two protagonists go through in both films are remarkably similar. They both are obsessed about success in their art form, one with past glory and the other with present perfection. They both struggle with alter-egos that haunt them and drive them to near death, but in the end gives them the freedom/perfection they've been striving for.

dee on Mar 3, 2015

4

beatiful? meaning the scenes you edited next to each other paralleled in your mind? beautiful for you, right? and these two directors are in my top 5, ok darren is my n.1, almost, but please try some subjectivity, or is that too much inartistic?

Adrian Almasi on Mar 3, 2015

5

I watched over half of this and the two didn't seem very similar so I stopped. think this is a reach.

Breedlove on Mar 3, 2015

6

Yeah...I don't see it. And god, do I love those shots Aronofsky does behind the protagonist. Also, Black Swan should have won the Oscar, Birdman should not (in my humble opinion). Both great films though

Ricardo_PT on Mar 3, 2015

7

'Black Sawn'?

Jon Sykes on Mar 3, 2015

8

yea no

Dotadestroyer on Mar 3, 2015

9

Definitely reaching here. Might as well say any movie with a struggling main character is similar.

Blake on Mar 4, 2015

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