Movie spotlight: Pasolini's "The Hawks and the Sparrows”

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 25, 2013 - 2:54 PM
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Ninetto Davoli and Toto in “The Hawks and the Sparrows.”

SUMMER MUSIC & MOVIES in LORING PARK

“The Hawks and the Sparrows” (⋆⋆½, in subtitled Italian), a raucous 1964 comedy from Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Marxist/sexual militant of Italian art cinema, opens the annual Walker Art Center series. From the opening credits, lustily sung to Ennio Morricone’s sprightly score, you know you’re in for something unusual. The crazy-quilt story follows a father (the renowned clown Toto) and son (fresh-faced teen Ninetto Davoli) ambling down the road in the company of a talking, politically opinionated raven. The bird spins them the tale of two monks (the lead actors, now in cassocks) assigned to teach religion to hawks and sparrows. Back in the present, the pair meet well-off predators and meek underdogs, as well as curvy signorinas and Twist-crazed young lads. There’s wackiness aplenty, from speeded-up scenes and inserts of documentary footage to ironic captions commenting on the story, to loony road signs giving the distances to Istanbul and Cuba. The clowning is cloyingly broad by modern standards and the overall feel is more funny odd than funny ha ha, but those forgiving of naive, self-conscious silliness will find it here in abundance. Twin Cities band Prissy Clerks is this week’s musical act. (Music at 7 p.m. Mon., film at 8:45, Loring Park, Mpls., free.)

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