In a seedy section of Rome, Vittorio Cataldi - "Accattone" ("beggar" in Italian) to those that know him - lives off the avails of prostitution, Maddalena being his one and only girl. He is married to Ascenza with who he has one young son named Iaio, but he does not live with them - they who live with her father and brother - provide for them, or play any important part of their lives. He generally hangs out with his similarly slack life friends playing cards and drinking. His source of income is threatened when Maddalena is injured being hit by a motorcyclist, then beaten by rivals of his, which leads to her being arrested and jailed for a year. Largely because of Iaio, Accattone contemplates going straight and getting a real job. Then he meets Stella, a young innocent woman who has had a hard life, but who is not as naive to the ways of the world as she first appears. Accattone falls in love with her, but as the thought of working a steady job now becomes abhorrent, contemplates ...Written by
According to Paolo Bonacelli, one of the main stars of Pasolini's final movie Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), Pasolini was in mind Giorgio Cataldi to play the part of Accattone, but he was replaced by Franco Citti because he was in jail at the moment of the filming. Is very typical in Pasolini's movies that characters share name with the actor who play them, and curiously, Accattone's surname is Cataldi. Giorgio Cataldi would do the first of his only two films in Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), along with Bonacelli. See more »
Accattone is a relentless study of the suffering that accompanies poverty. Pasolini utilises the well worn techniques of the Italian neo-realist moment to represent the depressing and oppressive life of a pimp - Accattone (played by the astonishing Franco Citti) - in the slums of post-war Rome. His life is beleaguered by guilt and self-disgust; his occupation, which is ostensibly the exploitation of women, causes the titular character untold despair. Ultimately he is unable to rationalise his need to eat with the suffering he causes to the women who work for him; they are, after all, also his lovers. Yet, Pasolini is careful to maintain the humanity of his protagonist by representing his hopeless situation as equally a result of his own doings as that of the social environment. Pasolini's Accattone is a masterful debut which expertly calls into service the devices of the cinema to convey a depressing but also compassionate narrative. His style is equal parts poetry and melodrama; a tough combo for any director. Some moments of this film are as tragically lyrical as those to be found in a film by Robert Bresson or Roberto Rossellini. Accattone is a commendable combination of style and substance which will leave few viewers unaffected.
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