Blu-Ray Review: Hawks and Sparrows/Pigsty

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s death was as controversial and murky as much of his life and cinematic output. An outspoken Communist, Pasolini had a singular drive and worldview which lead to him falling foul of the police and the Communist Party. As a film director he continued this path, courting controversy with much of his work. His final film, Salo, is still notorious to this day, and whilst he amassed an eclectic body of work, it wasn’t until decades after his murder in 1975 that he began to receive the recognition he deserved. Eureka Entertainment bring together two of his lesser-known works in Pigsty and Hawks and Sparrows.


Possibly Pasolini’s most obtuse work, Pigsty features two separate but concurrent stories. One, set on a sparse volcanic earth, features mute cannibalistic savages. The other, focuses on Julian (Jean-Pierre Léaud), the son of a rich industrialist in a post-Nazi Germany. His views are at odds with his politicised girlfriend (Anne Wiazemsky) and his father whose affluence he abhors. It’s a difficult film full of philosophical and ideological clashes, a comment on modern politics and an looking glass into Pasolini’s conflicted views. However, it’s also an entertaining, and often gripping, piece of cinema.

Hawks and Sparrows

Pasolini is having a whale of a time in Hawks and Sparrows. It’s a comedic revel which lampoons politics, religion and the state of modern Italy. Totò and his son (Ninetto Davoli) roam the countryside outside the Italian capital. As they wander round they encounter a left-wing crow and a number of ordinary citizens in differing scenarios. Pasolini declared Hawks and Sparrows as his favourite film and it’s a great fable about 1960s Italy.

Special Features

  • High-definition transfers of both films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Theatrical trailers for both films

Limited edition booklet contains:

  • Essays on both films by Pasquale Iannone
  • A 1969 interview by Oswald Stack with the director about Hawks and Sparrows
  • An English translation by Iannone of a 1974 interview with Pasolini discussing the actor Totó
  • A 1969 note on Pigsty by Pasolini circulated at the Venice première
  • An extract from a 1969 interview by Gian Piero Brunetta with Pasolini
  • Rare archival imagery

Pigsty/Hawks and Sparrows is released on Blu-ray by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema Collection today.

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