The Hawks and the Sparrows

Earlier this week I started to watch Pasolini’s The Hawks and the Sparrows (Uccellacci e Uccellini), an allegorical 1966 film about a father and son who meet a talking crow. It was very interesting! Alas I was so sleepy that I paused it about a third of the way through and went to bed, and I don’t want to write much about it until I’ve seen the whole thing. In the meantime you should see the opening credits, which are incredibly simple, inventive, funny and utterly distinct.

The whole thing is very Pasolini. At the beginning of the movie the son dances with some boys outside of a grubby bar on the outskirts of Rome and runs off to visit his girlfriend, who is dressed like an angel for a pageant.

The Hawks and the Sparrows angel

He meets up with his father again, they walk some more, and they meet a talking crow who says he’s left-wing. The crow joins them (although they refuse to say where they’re going) and explains that he comes from far away, that his country is Ideology, that he lives in “the capital, the city of the future, on Karl Marx Street, number seventy times seven,” all of which the father and son find very funny.

The Hawks and the Sparrows laughing

The Hawks and the Sparrows laughing two

Later on the father is complaining about their poverty and the crow tells them they’re actually very lucky, they “walk like masters in the streets on the outskirts of the cities, and you enter the little cafés with the workers and the morning sun, and you kiss girls dressed as angels, and you discuss life and death with the words closest to hand, whereas I . . .” He’s a thoughtful crow. He’s portrayed by a well-trained actual crow, not a mechanical movie crow.

The Hawks and the Sparrows story

You might like it. I think I like it. I hope to find time to watch it again from the beginning and write more about it soon.

2 responses to “The Hawks and the Sparrows

  1. I love this film, a father and a son lost in modern life and walking on a road to nowhere. It’ full of symbolism and references about italian story as Pinocchio. I lived near the actor Ninetto Davoli, few years ago, a simple man and a fine person. I like this blog. Cheers.

    • Thank you Rita, that’s great. Ninetto Davoli has an interesting face. I was thinking about that when watching the beginning of the film, also about the faces of the boys he dances with, and of the crowd of spectators he finds his father has joined — people in films rarely have such interesting faces anymore, they are mostly bland. Attractively bland, but I prefer when there is something of their character in their faces.

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