Sunday, December 9, 2012

Burning man: pigeons forming a backdrop to a drama

Title: Burning man
Year:  2011
Director:   Jonathan Teplitzky
Running time: 110 min.
Country: Australia

There are sad movies and cruel sad movies. One example of latter is Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby. I think that it is nice film, but I didn't like it at all. When I left the cinema after watching it, I felt something like I had been suffering emotional torture with a plot which was specially designed to sadden the spectator. Is such a cruel story really necessary? Such is life, Eastwood would probably say, but this is not the point. The point is the aim of this film style: they write a deliberately cruel story in order to shock the spectator and increase the film's popularity.

Burning man belongs to this category. It depicts the sad life of Tom (Matthew Goode), a skillful chef who is specially enthusiastic about cooking sea food. His wife dies of cancer and left him alone with his son. This film consists of continuous flashbacks and flashforwards where his happy life with his wife (before the sickness) is interlaced with very sad scenes depicting her agony and his desperation. I think that this film shows too much drama. Anyway, it includes some interesting pigeon appearances: in a picnic organized by a group of families, Tom becomes hysterical and starts to destroy the picnic before the amazed stares of the onlookers.

In the middle of this devastation we can see several scared pigeons. Here there is a bird witnessing the picnic destruction.

And in the following images we can see several pigeons flying around the scene:

Details of the pigeon starring 

  • Source: Burning man. Starring moment:  0:54:29
  • Pigeon activity: They are common pigeons scared by a hysterical father who is flattening a picnic.
  • Symbolism: None, they are common pigeons.
  • Relevance: Low. Pigeons are used for increasing the level of drama. 
  • Training level: High. Very well trained animals that perform a perfect side flight in the scene.


  1. Friend, if you concentrate a bit on the Russian films you will find a lot of films which have shown pigeons. Three I can immediately remember- Love and pigeons(Lyubovʹ i golubi), Farewell doves(Proshchayte golubi), Sadko. There are many more I think. Very recently in 2012 a film called The Girl And The Doves(Devochka i golubi).

  2. The captivating imagery of pigeons against the backdrop of Burning Man creates a surreal and thought-provoking scene. The juxtaposition of the serene and mundane pigeon with the dynamic and dramatic atmosphere of Burning Man adds depth to the visual narrative. It's a powerful reminder of the unpredictable and diverse moments that unfold at this iconic event, where the ordinary coexists with the extraordinary, forming a unique and unforgettable spectacle.