DVD: Hawks and Sparrows, Pigsty

Neorealist comedy, cannibalism and beastiality: two films by the Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini are out now on DVD

The late Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s films Hawks and Sparrows and Pigsty have been added to Eureka’s Masters of Cinema series of DVDs.

Released in 1966, Hawks and Sparrows is a neorealist comedy that follows a father and son on a walk around Rome. During their journey, the duo, played by the popular Italian comic Totò and Pasolini regular Ninetto Davoli, encounter an array of scenarios. Each one reflects Pasolini’s concerns with politics, religion and the state of modern Italy.

The 1969 film Pigsty has a darker edge. It is split into two parallel stories – one exploring the human capacity for destruction, the other of the link between the Third Reich and postwar Germany. The first section follows a young man in an unknown time in the past who turns into a cannibal. The second is set in 1960s Germany and follows an industrialist and his son Julian, played by French new wave star Jean-Pierre Léaud, who is attracted to pigs.

Aside from being a filmmaker, Pasolini was also a poet, novelist, journalist, painter and political activist. In all of these roles, Pasolini caused controversy with his outspoken political views. His final film, the obscenely violent Salò, an adaption of the Marquis de Sade's Les 120 Journées De Sodome Ou l'Ecole Du Libertinage, was banned in Italy for a year after its premiere in Paris, 22 November 1975 – a few weeks after Pasolini's brutal murder in Ostia, on the outskirts of Rome.