Hawks and Sparrows is another in Masters of Cinema’s continuing series of Pasolini re-issues with more to come later in the year. The film stars Toto who not know to most people outside of Italy know who he is but he was the huge star in Italy and was sort of the Italian Chaplin. The fim co-stars Pasolini’s collaborator and lover Ninetto Davoli.
The film’s story is a rather strange crossbred of a fairy tale and mid 60s leftist filmmaking. It’s about these 2 characters who meet a talking Marxist crow. The crow tells them the story of these 2 old Franciscan Monks (naturally played by Ninetto and Toto) and they preach to the Hawks and Sparrows and try to convert them to Christianity. They rest of the film consist of them wandering having episodic adventures includes meeting beautiful girls, they get chased away by angry farmers and dancing teenagers.
The film touches on Life, Religion, Birth, Sex, Aging and Death. It’s all done with humour and a touch of almost Monty Python silliness. The talking crow talks almost like thrift store Godard revolutionary speak but The Crow symbolize death eventually. The film features a wonderful Ennio Morricone score, which features Domenico Modugno singing the opening credits in an ironic fashion. The score itself is almost a Leone score which is unsurprising cause it was done around the same time as his scores for Leone.
The film is an extremely enjoyable if very strange piece of Bunuelian esq comedy even though the humour at time is very broad. The film seems to be considered a lesser work of Pasolini’s even though he considered it the only film of his that he wasn’t disappointed with. A knowledge of mid 60s Italian politics may help for some but for a person like me who has no knowledge it stills works as a very enjoyable film.
UK Re-release Date: July 2012
Directed By: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Totò, Ninetto Davoli , Femi Benussi
Buy:Hawks and Sparrows [Masters of Cinema] On DVD