Film Micrœview #241: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014)

09.28.2015 § Leave a comment

Rating: Good.

The artistic experience, encapsulated:

A school for mentally handicapped children. It’s a young girl’s turn on stage next. She’s written a poem. Rather than have her deliver it itself, the teacher takes the lead, asking simple question after simple question, teasing the facts of the poem’s depictions out one by one, tediously and condescendingly repeating for confirmation each one. It’s about a pigeon who sat on a branch contemplating – not existence – but the fact that it has no money. Then it flies home. The instructor decides when her turn is up and sends her back to her seat. Most of the applause is accepted instead by two other children who have run amok onto the stage during her turn.

Just when you think the film is going to be just a surreal first world problems lament, serious pain and horror lunges out. From an electrocuted monkey (shocking particularly in light of my recent viewing of Wiseman’s Primate) to a musical burning alive of shackled black men by white British soldiers for the entertainment of wine-sipping wealthy white elderly folk, to even a defeated anachronistic army’s trudge home, there are some intensely miserable undercurrents to the otherwise mundane proceedings. Everything that should tie together does.

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