1961, NR, 120 min. Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Starring Franco Citti.
REVIEWED By Nick Barbaro, Wed., Feb. 7, 2001
I hadn't seen either of the Pasolini films on this program before, and I must say that they, and especially Accattone, come as a considerable revelation missing links, as it were, between the postwar period and the baroque formality of Pasolini's later films. I've never been a big fan of those Salo, The Decameron, Arabian Nights, etc. which still seem overripe and calculated solely to "shock" and anger the Catholic church. (I mean, really, where's the sport in that?) But now, I think there's more there than I'd given him credit for, if the starting point is Accattone ("Scrounger"), a low-life pimp living on the outskirts of Rome in a barren, blasted moonscape of a neighborhood where Pasolini himself had once lived. And what makes things all the worse, even compared to the darkest hours of neorealism, is that Pasolini offers no hope whatsoever of any improvement. Accattone himself is the only one who seems to care that his life sucks; he hates being a pimp, but he can't seem to talk himself into trying to change. This may be the grimmest movie I've ever seen. Sixteen years after the promised rebirth of Open City, and this is where we've arrived?