Hawks and Sparrows (Masters of Cinema) DVD
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Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Produced in 1966
Main Language - Italian with English subtitles
An anarchic allegory, this picaresque comic fable lampoons politics and religion. Its essence is pure sixties writes Nick Riddle - freewheeling, but with serious matters at its heart.
Released soon after his acclaimed, reverential Gospel According to St Matthew, this comic fable shows Pasolini in a playful mood. He casts the legendary comic actor, TotÚ, as an old man who wanders with his son (Pasolini regular Ninetto Davoli) through the half-built fringes of Rome.
They meet a talking crow with an intellectual bent who tells a tale of two friars charged by St Francis with the task of preaching to the birds. The story seems to have a moral, although its meaning is rather slippery. The same is true of the film itself, which skitters from teenbeat rave-ups to medieval allegory to documentary, and shows traces of neorealism, Waiting for Godot and silent comedy.
Far from being a mess, however, Hawks and Sparrows is a surprisingly unified piece of work, animated by a spirit of anarchy but anchored by the charismatic presence of TotÚ, whose persona has a little of both Chaplin and Keaton. Its narrative digressions point forward to Pasoliniís renditions of Chaucer and Boccaccio, but its essence is pure sixties: freewheeling, fantastical, but with serious matters at its heart.
Nick Riddle on 27th June 2012
Author of 62 reviews
One of the handful of films that found Pier Paolo Pasolini sustaining a merrier mode of cultural assault, Hawks and Sparrows features Italy's popular comic actor TotÚ and Pasolini regular Ninetto Davoli in a picaresque fable that lampoons politics, religion, and the legacy of neorealism.
In the film, a crow gifted with the power of speech accompanies wandering duo TotÚ and Ninetto on a trail that leads to their roles as Franciscan friars who preach to the literal 'hawks and sparrows', before returning in time to gaze upon slum-dwellers, Danteist dentists, itinerant actor-hippies, and, ultimately, the state of the modern world.
An anarchic, and darkly comic allegory with music by Ennio Morricone, this is more like a folk fable than anything else, with a quest, innocence assaulted, and a storytelling, Marxist crow. A compassionate, occasionally farcical, always warm-hearted satire of an unjust world. Chaplinesque, in the best sense of the word.
Publisher: Eureka / Masters of Cinema
Length: 89 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 widescreen
Cat No: EKA40347
Format: DVD B&W
- New high-definition transfer in the film's original aspect ratio
- Original Italian theatrical trailer
- Newly translated optional English subtitles
- Illustrated booklet featuring rare archival imagery, the words of Pasolini and more.
by Barry Forshaw on 18th July 2012
Now here's a real curiosity - a relatively early film by the late Italian master that is in some ways reminiscent of his other work, but also totally unlike it. The od... Read on
Now here's a real curiosity - a relatively early film by the late Italian master that is in some ways reminiscent of his other work, but also totally unlike it. The oddity here is Italy's famous comic actor Totů, shoehorned into a bizarre comic narrative about a pair of Franciscan friars who follow Saint Francis's edict that they should convert the birds of the air to Christianity. Needless to say, the results are ludicrous, and as an attack on the naivety of religion, the film is as cutting as anything in the Fellini canon - particularly surprising, given that Pasolini had just made The Gospel According to Saint Matthew. Your response to the film may well be dictated by how much you can take of Totů (something of an acquired taste for British viewers) and also Pasolini's eternal innocent, the non-actor Ninetto Davoli, giving precisely the same performance he gave in every film he ever made for Pasolini. However, for those interested in Italian cinema, it's on the to-watch list. Hide