The Hawks and the Sparrows

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The Hawks and the Sparrows
(Uccellacci e uccellini)
Uccellacci.jpg
Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Produced by Alfredo Bini
Written by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Starring Totò
Ninetto Davoli
Femi Benussi
Music by Ennio Morricone
Distributed by CIDIF
Release dates 1966
Running time 88 min.
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Hawks and the Sparrows (Italian: Uccellacci e uccellini, literally "Bad Birds and Little Birds") is a 1966 Italian film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It was entered into the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

The movie is a post-neorealist story about Totò, the beloved stone-faced clown of Italian folk-stories.

Plot[edit]

Totò and his son Ninetto roam the neighbourhood and the countryside of Rome. During their walk they meet a talking crow, who, as seen on the intertitles, "Per chi avesse dei dubbi o si fosse distratto, ricordiamo che il Corvo è un intellettuale di sinistra – diciamo così – di prima della morte di Palmiro Togliatti" ("For the benefit of those who were not paying attention or are in doubt, we remind that the Crow is a – to so call it – left-wing intellectual of the kind of those living before Palmiro Togliatti's death").

The Crow tells them the tale of Ciccillo and Ninetto (still played by Totò and Ninetto), two Franciscan friars, who were bid by St. Francis to preach to the hawks and the sparrows. After many months, they succeeded in preaching the commandment of love unto the species separately, but were not able to get them to love each other.

After the tale, the journey of Totò and Ninetto carries on, the Crow still following them and continuously speaking in an all-too-intellectually sounding way. They meet many other people in a deeply visionary setting, among which: land-owners who order them out of their land and end up shooting at Totò and Ninetto who wouldn't obey; a family living in a slum that Totò threatens to drive them out of their house; a group of travelling actors who persuade the pair to push the group's Cadillac for them; an event, "1° convegno dei dentisti dantisti" (a wordplay, literally "1st convention of the Danteist (ie, scholar of Dante) dentists"; an engineer who is waiting for Totò to give him the money he owes him. After that, a brief extract of news footage of the funeral of Palmiro Togliatti, the long-time leader of the Italian Communist Party. Then, after having met a prostitute, they end up killing and eating the Crow, whom they found to be unconscionably boring.

Pasolini declared that Uccellacci e uccellini was his favourite film, as it was the only one that did not disappoint his expectations.

Ennio Morricone's opening theme music comically features Domenico Modugno singing the movie's credits in mock-operatic fashion, along with a few illustrative sound effects (i.e. a bird whistle for the title, laughter when Morricone's name is mentioned).

Art historian David Gariff notes that the composition of some of the scenes is visually similar to famous Italian paintings.[2] The beauty of Ninetto Davoli is also shown with similar facial expression and lighting to angelic depictions.[2]

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Hawks and the Sparrows". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  2. ^ a b "From Giotto to Pasolini: Narrative in Fresco and Film, Illustrated discussion by David Gariff". National Gallery of Art. 15 Dec 2012, 4pm, East Building Auditorium. 

External links[edit]