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Föreningen Film i Malmö presents
the directorial debut of Pier Paolo Pasolini, has been called the last film of the Italian neorealism. Stylistically, it fits the part. Pasolini, already established as a poet and novelist before he began penning screenplays, brings something extra to this realist depiction of a lower class world full of thievery and pimping.
Within the bawdy, deprecating dialogue of the working class characters are hints of allegory and poetry, flourishes of something more lyrical than these characters would otherwise manage. Yet, the writing always feels genuine as they leave the characters’ lips.
Accattone (Franco Citti), the “begger” (or “deadbeat,” depending on the translation) is a pimp and a smooth-talking manipulator. But Pasolini presents him as a Christ-figure, with religious language and iconography weaving its way into the structure of his character.
Yet Accattone is cruel and prideful. His introduction shows him boasting over the celebration that his funeral will be and how he wishes to be buried with his gold (the little he has) like a pharaoh. When one of his prostitutes breaks her leg, he accosts her and forces her out on the street all the same. This results in her being subjected to further cruelty by men who Accattone spited in his pride. She later goes on to tacitly defend him in front of the authorities.
This criminality is painted as a lower working class struggle. Accattone and his friends joke about the little Accattone has, and he gets drunk off wine and starts on about the strife of his work. In one scene, he travels to a farm and talks with those working there about getting by on long hours of labor and the little they have to eat on.
The complicated nature of this relationship is the crux of Pasolini’s neorealist meditation.
(written excerpt by ALEX BRANNAN )