Uccellini e Uccellacci – Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1966
Uccellini e Uccellacci (The Hawks and the Sparrows), is a masterpiece of Italian cinema directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. This motion picture is not simply a stunning achievement in the mastery of cinematographic trappings such as editing, sound, lighting etc. but the endeavour to deal with philosophical and political matters without gliding off track is simply compelling. Moreover, the real diamonds of the movies are the two main actors, the hilarious and beloved Totò and the young Ninetto Davoli.
If you are just looking for entertainment, this is not, probably, the right movie for you. It is playful and droll at times, thoughtful and pensive at some others, and this compound of emotions that it conveys creates a spell-binding atmosphere that spurs the viewers to use their minds and create meaning out of scenes that, sometimes, are visually striking but that are not straightforward and simple to interpret. In fact, the only sure thing is that Pasolini’s experiment to engage with religion and social problems without really taking any position and fitting these themes in a narrative characterized by good humour and a speaking raven, is really rare in cinema in the past as much as nowadays, with an industry that pushes experimental works down for their social controversy and critic. Extremely sad and off-putting.
The music by Ennio Morricone enchants and serves the narrative brilliantly, opening the movie in one of the most witty and amusing possible ways: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7PreNCv78A. Delightful and catching, we are thrown inside this dream-like journey of enlightenment but, on the other hand, it understates a sense of disenchanting bitterness that constantly accompanies our lives. We are in a world in which the voice of the Sparrows are suffocated by the Hawks, the bigger and arrogant, and thus in which only one kind can survive the bleakness of the environment.
A must-watch for film lovers, Uccellini e Uccellacci will bewitch and shake your brain inside out, but it will also leave you with something new to think about every day of your life.