The Hawks and the Sparrows

A man and his son (Totò, Ninetto Davoli) are wandering the outskirts of Rome when they are joined by a talking crow who begins to tell them a tale. Pier Paolo Pasolini followed up his success with The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) by creating a playful, neorealist fantasy whose structure is very loose. What follows once the crow starts delivering his Marxist message is an imaginative and curiously entertaining exercise where religion and politics play important parts; there are constant comparisons between the lives of rich and poor. But there’s also slapstick and lots of crazy ideas, including opening titles that are actually sung (!). Uneven but worthwhile, with endearing lead performances.

1966-Italy. 89 min. B/W. Produced by Alfredo Bini. Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Screenplay: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Dante Ferretti. Cinematography: Mario Bernardo, Tonino Delli Colli. Music: Ennio Morricone. Cast: Totò (Totò), Ninetto Davoli (Ninetto), Femi Benussi (Luna), Gabriele Baldini, Riccardo Redi. Voice of Francesco Leonetti.

Trivia: Original title: Uccellacci e uccellini.

Last word: “‘Hawks and Sparrows’ has the most special place in my heart. It was the most emotional and it will always be fixed in my heart. It allowed me to express the character of this boy that was me, to show my simplicity, to show my way of being. ‘Hawks and Sparrows’ was what spurred me to do that and to become part of [movies].” (Davoli, Way Too Indie)

 

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