On a long empty road, an old man, Toto,and his son, Ninetto, walk through the desolate countryside. On their journey, they come across a "left-wing intellectual" talking Crow. The crow speaks to them in a very philosophical tone, encouraging them to put others above themselves, even at one point changing them into monks so they can convert the birds of the world to Christianity. Pier Paolo Pasoloni's The Hawks and the Sparrows is a comedic surreal allegory about idealism in the world as we know it. Much of the film chronicles the misadventures of Toto and Ninetto as they go from place to place attempting to help out and spread the word. Eventually the men begin to grow more and more tired of the birds philosophical ways. With the two of them becoming quite hungry during their misadventures they decide to eat the bird, since they now feel prepared to face whatever life brings them. For a film that is quite engulfed with philosophical thought, The Hawks and the Sparrows is quite an entertaining experience. The film has a very playful tone and relies frequently on blatant symbolism to provide many laughs with tons of various sight-gags. I don't believe that Pasolini is being critical of religion, god, or Marxism but is rather making a statement about idealism - showing how reality and the ideal often don't coexist in the harsh reality of everyday life. Pasoloni's The Hawks and the Sparrows is a unique experience and while it isn't nearly on the same level as some of my favorite Pasoloni films, it definitely highlights Pasolini's unique vision of the world.
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