The Films (3/5)
As much as I am a Eurohorror and EuroCult junkie, I also find myself absolutely addicted to European arthouse fare of the 50's, 60's, and 70's, give me something from Bergman, Fellini, Fassbinder and beyond, and you'll have me in my seat for hours. With that being said the Blu-ray release of any Pasolini film is certainly a cause for celebration, and his films have sort of trickled on to the format on both sides of the Atlantic. In the U.S. we have gotten fine releases of his controversial final film Salo, and his Trilogy of Life. Also, a Medea release from Entertainment One. The U.K. have done a much better job getting his film's on to the format with the Trilogy of Life, Salo, Medea, Teorama, Gospel According to St. Matthew and more making it to the format. Now Eureka puts out 2 of Pasolini's lesser entries from the late 60's out onto the format with a double feature of Pigsty and Hawks and Sparrows.
Pigsty is comprised of 2 short features one of which tells the story of 2 industrialist in post-war Italy. Mr. Klotz who satirically resembles Hitler, and Mr. Herdhitze who are working to bring each other down. While this is going on Klotz' son Julian(Jean-Pierre Leaud) attends Marxist political rallies with his girlfriend, Ida. Unfortunately for Ida Julian (and his Father) is less interested in women and more interested in pigs. The other story in the film is about a man who finds himself in a barren landscape adjacent to a volcano. He finds himself reduced to a savage lifestyle including cannibalism, and begins to work alongside a thug to kill and eat travelers as they pass.
Hawks and Sparrows takes a less serious, more comedic tone than Pigsty. If one would like a comparison it would be as if Godard and Bunuel made a film with Monty Python with the tropes of silent comics. The film involve a Father (Toto) and his son who are wandering the road of life, when a crow comes and begins to advise them. The pair are told to spread the gospel of the crow wherever they roam, and are promptly sent back into the far past to teach Hawks and Sparrows the crows message. The hawks learn the crows (very Christian) message quite easily, but it takes a while for the pair to breakthrough to the sparrows. Unfortunately, while the lessons learned do seem to apply to their own species, this segment of the film ends with a hawk eating a sparrow showing no love for their neighbor. We then see the pair back in their own time and on a series of other escapades with the crow in tow.
Pasolini was not a simple filmmaker. He was deeply religious and political, and his films regardless of genre depicted his beliefs in both Communism and Christianity. Pigsty leans more toward the political side of Pasolini especially in the half that stars Leaud. At times it seems to channel Godard's earlier film La Chinoise which coincidentally also starred Leaud. Hawks and Sparrows is much lighter fare (though by no means totally easy watching) then Pigsty. It blends a message of Marxism and Christianity, with a tone that is a bit all over the place making it it less striking than the former, but by no means insignificant.
Both films are presented in their OAR of 1:85:1 with 1080p AVC encoded transfers. Both films look absolutely fantastic here. Hawks and Sparrows is black and white, it has excellent contrast, and detail, a healthy grain field. Pigsty has stable, naturalistic colors, very decent fine details, and an organic grain structure.
The audio is presented in Italian 2.0 mono tracks. The tracks are quite serviceable with dialogue and score coming through nicely.
Not much on the actual disc itself minus a few trailers. The meat of the extras is in the 48 page booklet accompanying the disc. That includes interviews with Pasolini liner notes and more.
Not Pasolini's finest films, however, fans will find much to enjoy in these films that show the diversity of Pasolini in action. The Blu-ray's look and sound quite good, but are limited in extras. RECOMMENDED.