In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_yhczhxkec9bilepfcg3aqppekoa

A Bigger Splash

A Bigger Splash might be intended as a cautionary tale about the perils of being white, beautiful and privileged—but it’ll probably register more as a…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Reviews

The Hawks and the Sparrows

  |   May Contain Spoilers

Pier Paolo Pasolini's "The Hawks and the Sparrows" is a whimsical fantasy about Christianity and Marxism; the question is left open as to whether Pasolini believes in either, or neither. Not that it matters much, Pasolini seems to say. Hawks still eat sparrows, not matter what a hawk is, or a sparrow.



Departing from the realistic style of his "The Gospel According to St. Matthew," Pasolini gives us a stylized fable. An old man (played by the famous clown Toto) walks along the road of life with his son. They are joined by a philosopher crow that asks them embarrassing questions about life, philosophy, men and crows. The crow seems to be a Marxist, but that is only if the men are Christians. And the men don't seem quite sure about that.

While the crow is talking, Toto and his son suddenly find themselves transported back 750 years to the time of St. Francis. The saint instructs them to learn the language of the birds and convert the hawks and the sparrows to God's love. After a great deal of effort, they succeed with the hawks -- but not before Toto has become such a famous holy man that peddlers set up stands and sell brooms and watermelons wherever he prays. One day, in a fit of rage, Toto drives the peddlers away.

Having cleansed the neighborhood of capitalism, he makes a breakthrough: Sparrows communicate not by chirping but by hopping. The two companions hop about delivering a sermon, the sparrows are converted, the adventure seems about to have a happy end. But then one of the converted hawks kills and eats one of the converted sparrows, for such is the nature of hawks and the plight of sparrows. Toto is plunged into despair; he taught the birds how to love their own kind, but he couldn't convince them to love their neighbors.

And perhaps that is the weakness of Christianity and Marxism and almost all of man's ideologies; too often they only persuade people of the same belief to agree with each other.

But before Toto and his son can quite get it straight, they're whisked back to the present time and treated to more speeches by the crow and more adventures along the road of life. They denounce the concept of private property and protect it. They make love. They see a baby born and they go to a funeral. After a while they get hungry and eat the crow.



Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

"The Hateful Eight" vs. "Pulp Fiction": The Devolution of Quentin Tarantino

FFC Gerardo Valero discusses the devolution of Quentin Tarantino by comparing The Hateful Eight to Pulp Fiction.

427: Ten years without Jen, twenty-six with

Reflections on a marriage, and what came after.

The Unloved, Part 29: "Knight of Cups"

Scout Tafoya celebrates the cinema of Terrence Malick and his most recent film, "Knight of Cups," for the 29th instal...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus