Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shame: a lonely pigeon at the car park

Title: Shame
Year:  2011
Director:   Steve McQueen
Running time: 99 min.
Country: United Kingdom

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a successful business man with a serious sex-addiction and a complicated relationship with his sister (Carey Mulligan). This was a disturbing film for me but I was surprised to find a feathered creature in it.

After a crazy sex-fuelled night out he becomes worried about his sister's state of mind and decides to call her. This worry increases when he sees that she doesn't pick up his calls. Then he decides he has to find her.

On his way he crosses a car park where a lonely pigeon is resting. Immediately, the pigeon is scared and flies away.

The director shows us this scene from different perspectives. We can see the pigeon close to the lower-right corner of the image.

Details of the pigeon starring 

  • Source: Shame. Starring moment: 1:28:22
  • Pigeon activity: It is a common New York pigeon that is roaming around a car park and is scared by a sex-addict that is running toward it. Fortunately, he is not running after it. 
  • Symbolism: None. 
  • Relevance: None. It only appears for few seconds and doesn't impact on the film's plot.
  • Training level: Low. The pigeon's behaviour is very awkward. It was clearly planted for this scene and it doesn't behave naturally.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Tower: the evil pigeon-punishing computer

Title: The Tower
Year:  1993
Director:   Richard Kletter
Running time: 120 min.
Country: United States

There are good computers and bad computers. I'm not talking about the computer's cost-performance ratio, energy consumption or level of fanciness.... I'm talking about good computers that help people (like the one in Wall-E) and computers that kill people (like HAL). This film is about a high-tech tower (nowadays it looks a little dated) which is controlled by a computer...  which happens to be a clear example of a bad one.

The computer has the duty of protecting the building at all costs. And it takes it very seriously. We can see an example of it at the beginning of the movie. An innocent pigeon flies to the top of the tower's ventilation system and looks around with curiosity.

Immediately, the system detects the intruder as a potential threat and marks it for delete. What does delete mean? Yes, think in the worst and you'd be right. 

With a powerful gust of air, the pigeon is 'deleted' from the tower. It is not clear if the bird was hurt or not, but the sight of a huge cloud of feathers makes us suspect a most dramatic finale for the pigeon.

Finally, the threat was removed and the system returns to its normal operation mode.... bad computer, I don't understand how you can sleep in peace.

Details of the pigeon starring 

  • Source: The Tower. Starring moment: 0:3:30
  • Pigeon activity: It is a common urban pigeon that explores the tower's top, maybe in search of some food or looking for a future nesting place. Unfortunately, it is going to face an evil computer that will delete it.
  • Symbolism: The pigeon is used as an example of the computer's inflexibility towards unauthorized visits and how it deals this kind of situations: with force and violence. Later, the protagonist (a human) will also suffer even worse treatment.
  • Relevance: Low. There is a brief appearance, but it summarizes very well how dreadful the computer is.
  • Training level: At the beginning of the scene, the pigeon is clearly thrown on the ventilation system. The pigeon handlers don't seem to be well-trained. However, the bird behaves very well and naturally in its movements.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pigeon Impossible: the secret agent, the pigeon and the doughnut

Title: Pigeon: Impossible
Year:  2009
Director:   Lucas Martell
Running time: 6 min.
Country: United States

I really enjoyed watching this short action film, which includes one of the most intense human-pigeon duels even conceived. The story begins with a secret agent and a curious pigeon that is more interested in the doughnut that the agent is eating than the mysterious briefcase that he is carrying. In the following pictures we can see this initial scene: under the surface of this professional-looking secret agent with his serious expression there is actually an awkward, amateurish agent that is unable to keep under control a pigeon that is irresistibly attracted by his doughnut.

Accidentally, the pigeon takes the control of the briefcase, which is actually a high-tech nuclear weapon, armed with the latest technology. As we can observe in the picture below, the pigeon is not as innoccent as it looks and it will fight till the end for its doughnut. The rest of the story features the duel between both protagonists for the control of the briefcase and the doughnut itself. It is better to watch it on the official web site. Link here.

Details of the pigeon starring 

  • Source: Pigeon: Impossible. Starring moment: all the recording.
  • Pigeon activity: It is a common pigeon wandering around the streets. However, in the recording we can see that the pigeon progresses from a quite simple animal to a very skilled die-hard enemy almost impossible to defeat. 
  • Symbolism: This is an example of how the combination of innocent-harmless creatures and deadly weapons can create lethal situations. 
  • Relevance: Absolute.
  • Training level: Not applicable. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Neighbor Zombie: the pigeon and the Korean zombies

Title: The Neighbor Zombie
Year:  2010
Director:  Hong Young-guen, Jang Youn-jung, Oh Young-doo, Ryoo hoon
Running time: 86 min.
Country: South Korea

This movie consists of four stories. The second one begins with a lonely pigeon roaming on a street. At this time the apocalypse has arrived and the zombie infestation has spread across the city. The remaining survivors stay at home while search-and-destroy teams patrol the city in order to put down any zombie they find. Meanwhile, the pigeon wanders around a deserted street in search of some food. It doesn't care about zombies, they are quite easy to elude. It also doesn't care about the Special Forces, they are very stressed killing zombies and they don't pay attention to it. For this pigeon, it is just another joyful day.

Do you feel some repulsion looking at this zombie woman? The pigeon probably doesn't. 

Details of the pigeon starring 

  • Source: The Neighbor Zombie. Starring moment: 0:25:12
  • Pigeon activity: It is a common pigeon roaming around the streets. 
  • Symbolism: The pigeon is used to show that despite the great horrors of a zombie apocalypsie, life goes on for the rest of the animals. For instance, for this pigeon.
  • Relevance: None. It doesn't contribute to the film plot. 
  • Training level: Very good. It is difficult to distinguish between a wild urban pigeon and a well trained extra. Taking into account the film budget (not too big) it is even more difficult to make this decision. I think that it is the second option because Koreans are good with the details.