On an empty road, an old man is walking with his son. They meet a crow that can speak. They are changed into monks and Saint Francois sent them to preach for hawks and sparrows. A reflexion... See full summary »
While scouting locations for his classic "The Gospel According to St. Matthew", director Pier Paolo Pasolini noticed that filming in the actual site of the story, in Palestine, wouldn't be ... See full summary »
Five short stories with contemporary settings. In New York, people are indifferent to derelicts sleeping on sidewalks, to a woman's assault in front of an apartment building, and to a ... See full summary »
This consists of four short films by different directors. Rosselini's 'Chastity' ('Illibatezza') deals with an attractive air hostess who receives the unwelcome attentions of a middle aged ... See full summary »
"La Rabbia" employs documentary footage (from the 1950's) and accompanying commentary to attempt to answer the existential question, Why are our lives characterized by discontent, anguish, ... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Pasolini
The capital of Yemen, the city of Sana'a, holds an important part of history within its walls filled with medieval architecture and culture. But that same culture was about to disappear ... See full summary »
CHE COSA SONO LE NUVOLE (by Pier Paolo Pasolini) Durante la rappresentazione dell'Otello in uno spettacolo di marionette, il pubblico si ribella alla malvagità di Jago ed invade il palco ... See full summary »
On December 12th, 1969 a bomb went off at the Piazza Fontana in Milan that killed 16 people and injured 84. Railway worker and anarchist activist Giuseppe Pinelli was picked up, along with ... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Edoardo Di Giovanni,
On an empty road, an old man is walking with his son. They meet a crow that can speak. They are changed into monks and Saint Francois sent them to preach for hawks and sparrows. A reflexion about idealism. Written by
Film's opening credits are not only displayed on screen but also comically sung in Italian to a jaunty Ennio Morricone score, with a memorably droll rhyming of the film title with the director's full name. See more »
The opening credits are performed as a song. See more »
"Uccellacci e Uccellini" is probably the best chance to get acquainted with Pasolini's political thoughts pre-1968 other than reading him. It's a candid, allegoric and provocative attempt to express his ideas about a very specific epoch in Italian history, after the death of left-wing political "father" Palmiro Togliatti in 1964 (whose funeral is one of the great scenes of "Uccellacci") and the "death" of Neo-Realism. It also reflects the intense differences between social classes, intellectual trends and political forces that would lead to the acts of "contestazione generale" in the late 1960s.
WIth "Uccellacci", we can learn some of Pasolini's thoughts on Marxism, Fascism, religion, the Catholic church, the role of intellectuals, the bourgeoisie, political parties, the dire conditions of the campesinato and the borgate (slums), poverty, greed, famine, cultural and social apartheid -- you name it. That's the main problem with this passionately personal and visually stunning walking-road-movie: too many targets, too little time to hit them all in the bull's eye.
A natural follow-up to his documentary "Comizi d'Amore" (1965) -- in which he traveled all over Italy interviewing people about their thoughts on love and sex -- Pasolini shows in "Uccellacci e Uccellini" the unofficial apartheid in Italy, a basically "unmelting" pot of dozens of different ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds "artificially" unified in mid-19th century but still plagued by social/economical/cultural chasm. And he also denounces the sterility of the discourse of the "official-left" intelligentsia, which he clearly despised (and which heavily attacked him on many issues and occasions).
In the Italy of the 1960s, the Left was concerned with the struggle of workers, intellectuals and students against the establishment; the contadini (peasants) weren't even properly considered as a political force -- they were the symbol of archaic, pre-boom Italy. Pasolini was the main voice to take the side of the peasants; against famine, sophism falls flat, as the intellectual crow will shockingly discover at the end of "Uccellacci". The political discourse can no longer be theoretical; it has to be urgent, pragmatic, directed towards action. Godard, Bertolucci, Alea, Ruy Guerra, Resnais and others also approached the theme at the time; but, unlike the majority of intellectual-filmmakers of the 60s, Pasolini ACTUALLY had had a rural (though highly literate) background.
Wildly (in)famous at the time as poet/filmmaker/writer/anti-Vatican political activist (but, contrary to a false general belief, he was never a gay militant, though he certainly wasn't in the closet), Pasolini picks up the journey into the "Italia profonda" from Visconti's "Ossessione" and "La Terra Trema" to most of Rossellini and leaves his own distinctive signature in the very complex era of the economic boom.
Pasolini smartly uses the parable genre with much comic relief so he can talk about serious political issues in a "commercial" film, relying heavily on veteran champion Totò's immense talent, charisma and experience. In one of his last films, Totò is joined by 16 year-old newcomer Ninetto Davoli, here in a completely relaxed, natural performance; they make a perfect duo. The cinematography by master Tonino delli Colli features jaw- dropping locations and compositions. The music by Ennio Morricone is memorable, his very personal touch instantly recognizable; and there are funny sung (!) opening credits. There are two minor letdowns that prevent total audience adhesion: 1) it lacks a brighter tempo, the rhythm falters at times; 2) the episodes are rather loosely linked 3) there are episodes which might be shorter (the wonderful but overlong St. Francis story) and others might be longer (the visit to the rich landowner's house).
"Uccellacci e Uccellinni" is a very personal Pasolini ("my favorite" he said in a 1969 interview) and one of his few films not based on literature classics, mythology or the Bible. It's mandatory for all interested in Pasolini's work and/or the political issues of the 1960s, as well as for fans of the unforgettable, one and only Totò.
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