Antonio Sanchez. The Unexpected Virtue of Jazz

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There have been a series of films over the last couple of years that have had their soundtracks performed live by their composers in New York, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ and ‘There Will be Blood’ to name but two. Birdman is the latest to be given the honor with Anthony Sanchez doing the honors behind a vast drum kit.

Birdman has without doubt one of the more unusual scores with snatches of classical orchestration interchanging with skittish drumming that scores the characters underlying turmoil.

This is the second time I’ve seen the film and the first time I’ve really come to appreciate it.

The complex relationship between our desire for fame in a world of twitter and instagram, where the most inane things can make you notorious overnight is thoroughly examined along with the difficulties of being an actor in the real world. All of the characters in the film struggle to find permanence and self worth, while at the same time desperately seeking the recognition that they hope will bring them peace.

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What is also clear however is that these dreamers, in taking on such a precarious life, are the only ones who have the possibility of being something more than a mere mortal. And in the end isn’t that the point of all existence to do something worth remembering by someone?

There’s also theme of love and how it is to attain. In the Raymond Carver short story the play at the heart of the film is based on, no one seems sure. Out in the real world it’s no different as all struggle to establish any kind of meaningful relationship that will last.

Perhaps it was the unusual nature of the screening but Birdman makes you think in a way that few films do, particularly those that win Oscars.

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