Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Scotland has several sports and many intense rivalries, but few can approach the "doo fleein" conflict between Rab and Danny. That's "pigeon flying" for those not fluent in the Glesca patter (Glaswegian venacular). Visitors to Glasgow may have noticed the occasional dovecote, particularly in the city's East End. They do belong to pigeon fanciers, but not those involved in homing or racing, this is a different competition. Two pigeons go aloft, one male, one female, and they return to one loft or another. It's not complicated, but that doesn't mean it doesn't arouse passions.

Filmed as part of the Bridging The Gap Scottish Documentary series, this is a beautifully made little film. There's a trick to documentary film-making: it's not just about finding a subject that's interesting, it's about making an interesting film about a subject. Pouters manages this in spades. There are some stunning shots, neat personal moments as pigeons are watered from engraved steins, as pigeons are washed, as pigeons are watched - heads popping out of roofs, birds soaring, men swearing. This is earthy stuff - one could joke about subtitles, but it's usually the film's commitment to location sound that causes problems rather than the language itself. That language tends strong as well, a fair few "effin' it" articles and harsher too. That's not a problem for anything except certification, and its inclusion speaks to the film's willingness to reflect its subjects.

There's a glorious final sequence that uses a piece from Offenbach's Tales Of Hoffman; touchline-style pacing, sudden substitutions, a glorious aerial shot achieved by Mark Huskisson, but credit is due to director Paul Fegan - finding these men who'll "talk to each other in the pub and on the street, but when it's comes to flying doos it's different".

A deserved winner of the Scottish Jury prize at Glasgow's 2013 Short Film Festival, Pouters was praised for a "subtle and original approach" in a "strong cinematic style". Fegan referenced Raging Bull and Zidane in his acceptance speech, stating that he wanted to "pay an homage" and create moments of intensity for an indigenous Scottish sport.

Reviewed on: 11 Feb 2013
Share this with others on...
Two longtime rivals battle for the title of Doo Fleein Champion in the East End of Glasgow.

Director: Paul Fegan

Year: 2012

Runtime: 10 minutes

Country: UK

Search database: