Friday, April 6, 2012

The Descendants: pigeons on the beach

Title:The Descendants
Year: 2011
Director: Alexander Payne
Running time: 110 min.
Country: United States

Matt King (George Clooney) is in a very complicated situation. His wife had a boating accident and is in a coma with no chances of survival. The relationship with his daughters (especially with the older one, Alex) is also difficult. In addition, he has to decide whether or not to sell a large portion of land that his family owns. Many many problems are on Matt's mind. 

In this scene we can see Matt resting on a beach while his 10-year-old daughter swims on the sea. Close to him, we can notice a couple of pigeons roaming on the sand. Matt is thinking about all his problems but during a short scene we see him looking at -supposedly- the pigeons. Maybe he will get some relief from this feathered company.

Mr. Matt is sadly looking at the doves

Details of the pigeon starring 

  • Source: The Descendants  Starring moment: 0:14:34
  • Pigeon activity: There are two doves pecking at the sand close to the protagonist. Given that pigeons usually stay close to food and given that they don't have any special preference for seaweed there are two possible scenarios for this behaviour. Scenario A: Matt is a pigeon fancier and he gave some food (maybe the leftovers of his meal) to the pigeons. Scenario B (non desirable): Matt is not a civic-clean citizen and he had thrown some food on the beach. Pigeons detected that event and came for a search-and-eat operation.
  • Symbolism: I think that the reasons for using pigeons in this scene is to provide George Clooney with additional expressiveness. In the scene he is initially looking ahead -where his daughter is- with a serious expression. Then, he looks at the pigeons changing a little his expression and showing that he is actually sad.
  • Relevance: None. It is a shame that George Clooney didn't win the Oscar, because the pigeons would have contributed to his achievement. Given that it didn't happen, the relevance is negligible.
  • Training level: Nice and well trained doves that behave very naturally in a sand environment. I wonder what they are actually eating there. 

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