7.5/10
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The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966)

Uccellacci e uccellini (original title)
Innocenti Totò and his son Innocenti Ninetto are drifting on a road in Italy, when they meet a Marxist speaking crow. The trio travels together in a long journey as their hunger increases.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Innocenti Totò / Brother Cicillo
...
Innocenti Ninetto / Brother Ninetto (as Davoli Ninetto)
...
Luna
Umberto Bevilacqua ...
Incensurato
Renato Capogna ...
Scoundrels Leader
Alfredo Leggi
Pietro Davoli ...
Scoundrel
Renato Montalbano
Rosina Moroni ...
Poor Cottage Owner
Flaminia Siciliano ...
Scoundrel
Lena Lin Solaro ...
Urganda
Gabriele Baldini ...
Dante's Dentist
Giovanni Tarallo ...
Starving Peasant
Ricardo Redi ...
Mansion Owner
...
Ciro Lococo
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Storyline

This richly symbolic film is really impossible to understand without some knowledge of 20th Century Italian history, and particularly the power of the Roman Catholic Church. The Lateran Treaty of 1929 finally politically separated Italy from Church power by creating the Vatican as a sovereign state. But the trade off was the that the Church was still left in power over many aspects of everyday Italian life. For instance, Italy finally established a civilian divorce law through a bitterly contested 1970 referendum. Before then, divorce was under strictly in the domain of Church law, and the Church NEVER granted a divorce, even in extreme cases like when a spouse was abandoned many years hence. Overall, however, the power of the Church still resided in the blind allegiance of Italians at all levels to Church morality. Over decades, this led to impeding Italy's social and political progress, and greatly maintained the status quo in the division between the privileged upper class and the ... Written by Joe Kulik

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The surprise comedy hit of the New York Film Festival See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

10 December 1969 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Hawks and the Sparrows  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On 14th February 1988, actress Laura Betti introduced a reconstructed version of the film at the Berlin Film Festival. That version contained a short episode with Totò called "Toto al circo", which was not included in the original release. Although director Pier Paolo Pasolini had spoken about his work on it, this episode had never been shown to the public before. See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are performed as a song. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Un lugar en el cine (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Teatrino All'Aperto 2
Composed by Ennio Morricone
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User Reviews

 
Big Birds, Small Birds
2 November 2008 | by (Berlin, GER) – See all my reviews

"Where goes humanity?" - "I don't know!" Maybe it's a comedy, but I don't think anyone is 100% sure what kind of a film this really is. It's not really comedic, because behind all those absurdities and silliness there lies a seriously political and religious concern, a bittersweet desire and infallible disappointment. Maybe we should take the film as what it is, as one-of-a-kind, a cinematic high jump which gives rise to all sorts of speculation and conjectures without knowing where to start and where it ends.

Not only the viewer is left unsure, the protagonists are, too. They embody the condition of the film's unsureness perfectly, as well as the nature of one of the most unique works of Italian cinema, which is also the most variant and formally abstract film project of Pasolini: A weird story, a picaresque tale which mixes metaphors and cinematic references (from Keaton's statics to Chaplin's poesy of the dusty road to Fellini's clowns to Rossellini's monks); a philosophic apology which depicts the end of ideologies, the crisis of Marxism on the background of the clash of rulers and subjects (hawks and sparrows) and the unfortunate encounter of those who have the blessing of knowledge (the wise raven) and those who outlive themselves without the awareness of being part of this world: Totò and Ninetto, father and son. Both are walking the eternal road of a universe which is merciless, discuss pretentious things and express themselves with the help of their basic instincts: physical needs, but also the hate towards inferiors and subservience to superiors. On their way, they encounter the mystery of life and death (birth of a child, a family that kills themselves with gas, a funeral), as well as the mortal fear of those who starve. Until the raven appears, decides to go along with them and overwhelms them with needless wisdoms.

It's great to see Totò in here, a masterful actor who often was criminally misused in abysmal Italian entertainment movies and shows here the wide range of his talent. The interaction with the young, intuitive Ninetto Davoli is probably the biggest joy in this film.


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