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Is Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman made up of a single long take shot?

Jun. 20, 2014by: Alex Maidy

When the trailer dropped for Alejandro González Iñárritu's BIRDMAN, many of us were excited to see the starring return of the great Michael Keaton alongside a phenomenal cast that includes Emma Stone, Edward Norton, and Naomi Watts. Iñárritu himself is a phenomenal director from the same circle of friends that includes Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo Del Toro. As each of the filmmakers release new projects, they almost seem to one up each other in terms of technical achievements. With Cuaron having provided a breathtaking experience with GRAVITY, what could Iñárritu have up his sleeve?

IndieWire has assembled various sources, one of whom is Alfonso Cuaron himself, that claim BIRDMAN may be constructed as a single long take, much like Alfred Hitchcock's ROPE. Now, for a feature length long take there are assuredly hidden edits within the film to make it achievable, but there is also no official proof that BIRDMAN will be constructed this one. One source who claims to have seen the film says there is a 40 minute single take shot in the movie.

Whatever the case may be, the trailer for BIRDMAN does open with a long take, or a segment of one. If you rewatch it below, you could see how there is a possibility the whole film is edited this way. If this turns out to be true, I am now more excited for the film than ever.

BIRDMAN opens October 17, 2014.

Source: IndieWire

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5:33AM on 06/21/2014
Yah well lets define take, last time you guys did an article about long takes it included shots with edits and cuts. To me a take is one continuous scene with zero edits. So for a feature length movie this would be almost impossible especially if it had multiple locations, doing a one room or one location movie sure, but just from the trailer you can see several locations.

I doubt they said hey Michael you got a couple hours to blow today we are going to make a movie here put in this
Yah well lets define take, last time you guys did an article about long takes it included shots with edits and cuts. To me a take is one continuous scene with zero edits. So for a feature length movie this would be almost impossible especially if it had multiple locations, doing a one room or one location movie sure, but just from the trailer you can see several locations.

I doubt they said hey Michael you got a couple hours to blow today we are going to make a movie here put in this earpiece and we will follow you around and feed you lines, you do some improve we sell it, cha ching! Hey that sounds like gold!
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12:20AM on 06/22/2014
The articles says it's a 40-minute long shot. Most movies are around 120 minutes. So they're not claiming the entire movie is one shot, just 1/3rd of it is.
The articles says it's a 40-minute long shot. Most movies are around 120 minutes. So they're not claiming the entire movie is one shot, just 1/3rd of it is.
+0
9:54PM on 06/20/2014

one long shot of Michael Keaton!

I must be dreaming...
I must be dreaming...
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8:09PM on 06/20/2014
I think that sounds pretty nuts...but consider my mind well and truly blown into smithereens should that be the case! Very cool that these three are friends, on the commentary for Pacific Rim, del Toro says that the "you're squeezing me too tight" line at the end of the film was suggested by Cuaron.
I think that sounds pretty nuts...but consider my mind well and truly blown into smithereens should that be the case! Very cool that these three are friends, on the commentary for Pacific Rim, del Toro says that the "you're squeezing me too tight" line at the end of the film was suggested by Cuaron.
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7:07PM on 06/20/2014

And yeah, the one take scenario is not possible here.

And yeah, the one take scenario is not possible here. And this looks AWESOME!
And yeah, the one take scenario is not possible here. And this looks AWESOME!
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7:04PM on 06/20/2014

Cuaron is the best of the 3

Inarritu seems to just miss with a lot of his movies, like they don't ever turn that tender side when it is needed.
Inarritu seems to just miss with a lot of his movies, like they don't ever turn that tender side when it is needed.
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6:51PM on 06/20/2014
Single long takes are always a joy to watch.
Single long takes are always a joy to watch.
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+0
5:36PM on 06/20/2014

It's possible

It looks more like the film's scenes are single-shot deals rather than the usual kind, comprised of a lot of coverage from different angles. The opening scene and the closing with Ed Norton both look like they could be uninterrupted takes, and pretty much all the shots in the trailer look like they were filmed with the same wide-angle lens. I wouldn't bet money on the entire film being a single take (especially with crane moves and CGI elements), but it does look like a good portion of the
It looks more like the film's scenes are single-shot deals rather than the usual kind, comprised of a lot of coverage from different angles. The opening scene and the closing with Ed Norton both look like they could be uninterrupted takes, and pretty much all the shots in the trailer look like they were filmed with the same wide-angle lens. I wouldn't bet money on the entire film being a single take (especially with crane moves and CGI elements), but it does look like a good portion of the movie could be unbroken shots.
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+1
5:06PM on 06/20/2014
Awesome!
Awesome!
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4:52PM on 06/20/2014
I would be fine if some of the shots in the film were one, long single take, but not the entire film. I think that would be a little difficult to sit through.

I mean look at the way Children of Men did it. It wasn't one entire, long shot, but it did contain one one of the best examples of it in cinema history.
I would be fine if some of the shots in the film were one, long single take, but not the entire film. I think that would be a little difficult to sit through.

I mean look at the way Children of Men did it. It wasn't one entire, long shot, but it did contain one one of the best examples of it in cinema history.
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4:35PM on 06/20/2014

Hmmmmm

Not sure how I feel about this. While it worked exceptionally well in Gravity, I saw a movie called Russian Ark once. It is a time travel movie through Russian history and the 1h45 min movie is ONE SINGLE TAKE. No cg edit or anything. It tested the very limits of my patience and I could not enjoy it. They are cool experiments but continuous LONG takes aren't conducive to an enjoyable experience I find.
Not sure how I feel about this. While it worked exceptionally well in Gravity, I saw a movie called Russian Ark once. It is a time travel movie through Russian history and the 1h45 min movie is ONE SINGLE TAKE. No cg edit or anything. It tested the very limits of my patience and I could not enjoy it. They are cool experiments but continuous LONG takes aren't conducive to an enjoyable experience I find.
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4:10PM on 06/20/2014
I am so down for this movie! Can't wait to see more...
I am so down for this movie! Can't wait to see more...
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4:09PM on 06/20/2014
Incredibly excited for this movie. As someone who constantly watched his Batman movies and Beetlejuice, I'm incredibly excited to see Keaton in a starring role. Especially one that seems as meaty and fun as this one.

And having it as a single take makes it sound that much more awesome
Incredibly excited for this movie. As someone who constantly watched his Batman movies and Beetlejuice, I'm incredibly excited to see Keaton in a starring role. Especially one that seems as meaty and fun as this one.

And having it as a single take makes it sound that much more awesome
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4:04PM on 06/20/2014
I'd love to see Keaton get an Oscar nom from this and then have a career resurgence like McConaughey.
I'd love to see Keaton get an Oscar nom from this and then have a career resurgence like McConaughey.
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3:49PM on 06/20/2014
The trailer does have that look like its following the actors around rather than a lot of stationary establishing shots
The trailer does have that look like its following the actors around rather than a lot of stationary establishing shots
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