ACCATTONE (1961, Italy)

accattone

ACCATTONE || 1961, Italy || Drama || Directed by – Pier Paolo Pasolini / Written by – Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sergio Citti / Produced by – Alfredo Bini, Cino Del Duca / Cinematography by – Tonino Delli Colli / Editing by – Nino Baragli / Production Design by – Flavio Mogherini / Starring – Franco Citti, Franca Pasut, Adriana Asti / Running time: 120 mins.

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“Accattone” by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1961, Italy)

After gaining recognition as a distinguished figure in contemporary Italian literature from an early age, Pasolini burst out into the cinematic scene with his first work Accattone – and with it came instant praise.

Accattone is the story of a man whose girlfriend he pimps ends up in jail and who must hence face up to hunger and redemption, a result of his lack of will to dirty his hands with work.

This is a film that deals with broken marginalised souls. It reeks of the streets and of the open fields in the characteristic landscapes of the suburbs of Rome, ridden by poverty and casual everyday criminality. Pasolini strengthened this representation be dealing directly and bluntly with more racy and controversial themes such as moral decadence and prostitution in a disarmingly open way.

Nevertheless, despite the modern air and approach with which he deals with his themes, Accattone also represents a time in Italian cinema when there was still a heavy influence – or perhaps downright visitation – of the influential classicist style of the neo realists, which adds a genuine edge to the film especially through the employments of such techniques as street casting and wide use of Romanesque slang.

A word or two must be spared for Franco Citti, whose performance is so magnetic and star making as to be worthy of being considered one of the most remarkable debuts by an actor in a film. There is a certain rogue appeal in him that fills his performance in the role of the pivotal anti-hero with great intensity and even a great deal of sexual charge that perfectly conveys the atmosphere of the feature as a whole. – 5/5

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