September 17, 2009

Tippi, Tippi, Tippi: Hitchcock’s classic The Birds (and Tippi) in Orinda Friday night; and, by the way, What’s your favorite Hitchcock film?

Tippi Hedren will be in Orinda Friday night at a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece The Birds, as part of the California Independent Film Festival, which is moving this year from Livermore to its new location in Orinda’s beautifully classic Art Deco cinema.

This 1963 film is about a northern California coastal town (Bodega Bay) that is attacked by a sudden, frightening, and even apocalyptic horde of wild birds, perhaps symbols of nature seeking their revenge on humans. The film starred a then-unknown actress named Tippi Hedren (mother of Melanie Griffith), as San Francisco socialite Melanie Daniels.

People talk about Hitchcock films being suspenseful and scary. Suspenseful maybe. Scary, not really. What I love about his best films is how psychologically rich they are, how lushly romantic, how darkly humorous, and how sharp they are about picking apart our views of male and female identities and of relationships between the two genders. Hitchcock had a dark, twisted sense of humor, and of the human condition, which is very much evident in The Birds.

Friday night’s event begins at 7 p.m. The screening of the film is preceded by a chat between Ms. Hedren and Diablo magazine’s senior editor Peter Crooks.

The event is nearly sold out, but tickets are still available. Tickets benefits Hedren’s Roar Foundation Shambala Preserve, and cost $15 for students and $20 for adults. They may be purchased online or at the Orinda and Rheem Theatre Box offices, or by call CIFF's ticketing office at (925) 277-1355.

I’ll be going with my son. It’s time to introduce him to the genius of Hitchcock, and I think The Birds is a good one to start with. I first saw it around his age, and it both terrified and delighted me.

What’s your favorite Hitchcock film? I have to say that mine is the poetic and pathologically romantic Vertigo, but The Birds is very much high on my list. Notably, The Birds and Vertigo, as well as 1948's Shadow of a Doubt, very much depend, for story and theme, on their San Francisco and Northern California locations.

And, yes, I have taken friends, who are fellow Hitchcock lovers, on my own tours of Hitchcock’s San Francisco (Fort Point, Mission Delores, Maiden Lane, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and that apartment highrise at the top of Nob Hill) and Hitchcock's Northern California (San Juan Bautista, Muir Woods, Bodega Bay, and the town of Bodega).


Anonymous said...

I introduced my 11 year old son to Kurosawa this year. He was loving the movies until we got to "Ran". I thought he'd love the battle scenes but instead he was horrified at the theme of a family destroying itself. He talked for weeks about how that was the saddest movie he'd ever seen.

These little men are so surprising sometimes. It'll be interesting to see how your guy reacts to Hitch. Don't take him to "Psycho". It's tough enough to get them in the shower as it is.

Anonymous said...

Favorite Hitchcock movie? There are so many. How about Dial M for Murder? or Notorious?, Strangers on a Train? or North by Northwest?

I think my all time favorite Hitchcock movie has to be Rear Window.