In pre-war Italy, a young couple have a baby boy. The father, however, is jealous of his son - and the scene moves to antiquity, where the baby is taken into the desert to be killed. He is ... See full summary »
Having renounced her ignominious past, a former streetwalker reunites with her son. However, an extortion scheme endangers her aspirations for a decent bourgeois life. Can she protect him from the same snares that wounded her youth?
Pier Paolo Pasolini
After his quest to retrieve the fabled Golden Fleece, Jason returns to Greece with the powerful sorceress, Medea. However, when the king banishes her, it's only human that Medea plots her furious revenge. Can they escape her wrath?
Pier Paolo Pasolini
4 short films by a quartet of directors. Rosselini's 'Chastity' ('Illibatezza') deals with an attractive air hostess who receives the unwelcome attentions of a middle aged American. ... See full summary »
Ancient Arabia. A youth is chosen by a beautiful slave girl to be her new master; she is kidnapped and they must search for each other. Stories are told within stories; love, travel and the whims of destiny.
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 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
"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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