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The Core Curriculum

"The Birds" directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1963.

Relates to: 

Alfred Hitchcock’s films were heavily indebted to Freud’s ideas. His characters consistently suffer from (suffice it to say) unusual relationships with their mothers—one only has to think of Psycho, or Strangers on the Train, in which the protagonists have such a close attachment to their mothers that their mothers overshadow their own selves. Additionally, Hitchcock structured his film Marnie almost exactly like a psychoanalysis: the lead character suffers from a trauma she experienced in her childhood, but which she has forgotten, and, in the closing scene, in which she is saved, she enacts a kind of cathartic moment of recollection of the original trauma (with Sean Connery standing in for the therapist). Hitchcock’s The Birds, released in 1963, also illustrates important Freudian themes. Swarms of birds invade a California town, and begin savagely, and indiscriminately, attacking its residents. Why they are attacking, or what the attack means, is unclear; the characters are surrounded by objects of danger whose sense they cannot consciously understand. The Birds depicts the kind of everyday reality which, from Freud’s perspective, a person suffering from mental pathology experiences: it is filled with dangerous, fatal things, and gives rise to hysteria, anxiety, and paranoia; but why, exactly, they are dangerous and fatal is not consciously known.