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
A representative outset for a spectacular and controversial career
Pasolini's first film "Accatone" is exactly as one would expect a typical Pasolini film to be: wreathed in raw violence, and shot with a brilliant sense of poetic slash brutal realism, reminiscent of the neo-realism era, and perhaps, if not for sure, a semi-autobiographical portrait of life in the streets of Rome's peripheries. "Accatone" is, at its best, a chunk of life, which Pasolini managed to extract not as it initially was, but dramatically filtered through his own personal lyrical gaze. Gangs, prostitutes, lies and deceit lie in this film's core. A sense of irresponsible opportunism is seen in this film, almost no regrets for the past and no fears for the future. In fact, the movie's tragic hero, Vittorio Accatone, is a dark alter-ego of yet another favored Italian movie character, embodied only a year before by Marcello Mastroianni in "La Dolce Vita". Perhaps, in this case, Accatone was not a party animal journalist who sought ephemeral pleasure in social middle-class gatherings and women, but the spirit is, by itself, maintained astonishingly faithfully: Accatone is no longer a protagonist in Pasolini's movie, doomed to descend lower and lower in social class, losing both his dignity, his social acceptability and his profound "style", but a symbol, a metaphor for Pasolini's own political beliefs. Under this figure of a brute, behind the otherwise repelling image of a short dirty man with a sly smile and a peculiar walk, lies the failure of post war Italian government, a government which, according to this movie's subtext, strove so hopelessly to attain social and economical success for Rome's population, and somehow neglected or marginalized Rome's peripheries, causing people like Accatone and his girlfriends to result in prostitution and theft. A kind of pretension and make-belief well being which was also visible, at the time, in America. Yes, Accatone is the result of this American Dream's pastische.
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