EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|THE HAWKS AND THE SPARROWS (UCCELLACCI E UCCELLINI) (director/writer: Pier Paolo Pasolini; screenwriter: story by Pier Paolo Pasolini; cinematographers: Tonino Delli Colli/Mario Bernardo; editor: Nino Baragli; music: Ennio Morricone; cast: Femi Benussi (Luna), Ninetto Davoli (Innocenti Ninetto / Brother Ninetto), Totò (Innocenti Totò / Brother Cicillo ); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alfredo Bini; Brandon Films; 1966-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)|
by Dennis Schwartz
This black and white shot allegory jokester avant-garde fantasy pic from Pier Paolo Pasolini ("Salo"/"Witches"/"Oedipus Rex"), about injustice in the world, is for the birds. It offers such wisdom as having a crow inform us “The age of Brecht and Rossellini is finished.”
opening credits feature every cast member's name sung.
father (Toto, popular Italian comedian, for whom the
film was made) walks with his saw-dust brained teenage
son (Ninetto Davoli) along a
desolate path on the outskirts of Rome and are
accompanied by a talking left-wing philosophical
bird. The bird rips into the pair for being ignorant
about whether Marxism is more beneficial than
Christianity, and the bird magically transports them
back in time to the 12th-century on a self-discovery
journey to get answers. The innocent duo, now
dressed as monks, hope to follow in the footsteps of
St. Francis of Assissi and convert the birds to
Christianity. But their failure brings them back to
modern-times, where Pasolini
manipulates them to reject Marxism, Christianity and Rossellini's neorealism.
The goofy film, filled
with a charm and humor that eluded me, has these
everyman figures encounter hawks that can
communicate with them and sparrows that are
converted but devoured by the hawks. It's the kind
of a silly whimsical film that tosses in whatever
into the mix and then lets us know that the earthly
pleasures are the most important thing in life.
It would help the foreign
viewer to know that the film was made shortly after the
assassination of Italian socialist leader Palmiro
Togliatti in 1964. His funeral is fictionalized in the
film. For Pasolini, Communism was meant, in its best
form, as a Christian expansion on morality, to end
class conflicts and to assist the poor.
REVIEWED ON 4/22/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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