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Italy, 1966 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Hawks and Sparrows is Pier Paolo Pasolini's only full length comedy, and his last film to be made in black and white.

It is the story of two characters, a father and son, who represent two generations of Italian society and life, wandering around the countryside. They travel with a talking crow, and learn from it that 'the age of Brecht and Rossellini' (that is, the cinematic heritage of neo-realism) 'is finished'. Newsreel footage of the funeral of Togliatti, leader of the Italian Communist Party, is cut into the film, and this event greatly affects the two men. They compensate by finding a woman suitable for them both. Eventually they kill and eat the tiresome intellectual crow — meaning, as Pasolini explains, that the peasant class will ultimately ingest the essence of Marxist ideology.

Geoffrey Nowell-Smlth has described the film as 'a homage to a certain side of the spirit of popular Italy — reactionary, sexist, petty bourgeois and obstinately stupid — incarnated by Toto, a truly great comic'.

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