Ali Aqa An Iranian Pigeon Fancier Competed For Top Honors At The Dutch Non Fiction Extravaganza (2019)
A disturbing flight from enthusiasm into obsession is witnessed in kamran heidaris ali aqa the story of an againg iranian pigeon fancier and the toll his volatile eccentircity wreaks on his long suffering family. Premiering in the feature length competition at documentary giant IDFA this iran switzerland france co-production is a well crafted and unsettling work which poses some tricky questions about the practicalities and ethics of fly on the wall non fiction movie making. It should find further perches at similar events and with a little trimming should find favor among TV buyers.
Things seldom work out well for pigeon in fictional cinema the ones so lovingly tended by terry malloy in on the waterfront and by the eponymous hero of ghost dog all meet grisly fates. They dont fare so well in this documentary either ali aqa proving a less than conscientious steward of the columbine avians in his care. A bulky 68 year old who looks around a decade older and is suffering from a variety of serious health issues including diabetes. ali is a frequent patient at his local hospital but must also make his households living as an itinerant fruit and vegetable man.
He doesnt breed the pigeons for racing purpose instead he supplements his meager income be selling to fellow fanciers. But the main benefit he obtains from his rooftop flock evidently comes from simple companionshi. He particularly close to one white female and when she disappears a quarter of the way though the movie ali aqa is so distraught that his mental and physical condition rapidly deteriorate in perilous tandem.
Even when the elusive bird returns the damage seems to have been done. He inflicts physical punishment not only on the hapless pigeon but also on his downtrodden wife when he lunges at her with a knife the moment of impact is masked by a brief flash of black scree and his young grandon. He threatens to beat the latter with a large stick after the kid apparently fails in his bird feeding duties at which point director editor co writer heidari feels sufficiently moved to put down his equipment and directly intervene. The resulting altercation is captured via one of his collaborators cameras.Ali Aqa An Iranian Pigeon Fancier Competed For Top Honors At The Dutch Non Fiction Extravaganza,