The Fable of the Beautiful Pigeon Fancier (1988)

“Your iciness flames my desire.”

In the late 1800s in Brazil, Don Orestes is the middle-aged heir with “a flawless lineage” from a wealthy rum producing family. He’s a dandy, and lives with his domineering mother in a vast mansion. Don Orestes is a creature of habit, and the inhabitants of the town can guess the day of the week according to his set routines. Don Orestes thinks rather highly of himself, but in reality the peasants and shopkeepers despise him. One day, Don Orestes spies a beautiful young girl, Fulvia, walking alone on a deserted beach. While he can’t get the girl out of his thoughts, his mother’s predictions don’t help, and Don Orestes soon becomes determined to have the girl–no matter the cost.

The title of this film, The Fable of the Beautiful Pigeon Fancier (Fabula de la Bella Palomera) gives the viewer a clue that the film in essence tells a story–a fable. The fable aspects of the film are accentuated by the notion of fate and the unexplainable power of dreams. The film is a beautiful creation with spectacular beach scenes, magnificent storm sequences and a heavy emphasis on blues. The beauty of the wild natural world seems in complete contrast to the stilted organization of the Orestes household where the vanity of Don Orestes is fed by subservient underlings and his fawning mother. Fulvia appears to be a rather wild creature–perhaps that’s why Orestes wants to possess her, for she seems to be part of the natural world while Orestes appears to be a foppish concoction of hairnets and hair oil.

Directed by Ruy Guerra (Erendira), The Fable of the Beautiful Pigeon Fancier is one of six films based on short stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Each one is complete, so it is not necessary to watch them in any particular sequence. This is a beautiful film, and like all fables it has a moral at its conclusion. Fans of the writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and fans of foreign cinema should enjoy the film. The film is in Portuguese with English subtitles.

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Filed under Brazil, Period Piece

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