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DVD Review

DVD cover

Pigsty (1969)


Starring: Pierre Clémenti and Jean-Pierre Léaud
Eureka Video
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 23 July 2012

While his super-wealthy father is a neo-Nazi political mover in post-war Italy, attempting to out-manoeuvre his opponent, his son proves to be much more of an enigma. The young man is romantically engaged with the daughter of another decadently rich family. She finds him both fascinating and aloof, particularly when he refuses to accompany her on a demonstration because he has to do something important - the only thing he really loves. Meanwhile, in the mountains, miles from civilisation, individuals from a lost war have to survive any way they can. This means eating plants, butterflies, raw snakes, and even human flesh...

This release is another in the Eureka! Masters of Cinema series. It is also the second film in a row I’ve reviewed from Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini. Once more he’s being all meaningful with his allegories, so rather than a popcorn entertainment what we get is a political and moral statement on the world and society as a whole. Pigsty (1969) explores such animal instincts as greed, carnal lust, and the religious need to belong and be absolved. The film is described as a deranged parody, but for me this is an obvious Orwellian pastiche. The connection, albeit tenuous, to Animal Farm just can’t be ignored. The pigs actually describe the behaviour of mankind, and even many of the inherent conversations make references to these unfortunate animals.

The final scene describes the young man’s death at the hands (trotters?) of the pigs, but the major unanswered question is what exactly did the young man do each time he visited the pigs? Just watch them? Play among them? Mistreat them? Or worse? When a handful of peasant villagers describe the incident it is with quiet reverence. In dying he becomes a martyr; even a messianic figure. This would certainly tie-in with the talk of Jews and fascism.

Pigsty means more than Hawks and Sparrows - or at least the meanings are clearer, but you still have to read between the lines of much pretentious nonsense. Modern viewers will no doubt describe it as a load of old tosh, and who’s to say they’re wrong? As with Hawks and Sparrows, there is a very informative booklet and a short interview with the director.


Ty Power

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