While such an assessement of the movie is overly dour, it certainly isn't an entertaining movie. Franco Citti was a non-actor who was enrolled into playing the title character, Accattone. Over the course of the movie, he slides down the scale from unemployed low-life to abusive husband to gainfully employed manuel laborer to death. He possesses a small amount of charm, but his creepy mustache definitely helps us remember that he's a small time creep.
Pasolini himself was a bit of a low-life (once dubbed as an "atheist Marxist homosexual") , who hung around the grimier parts of Rome. His experiences there were converted first into novels, and then into film. He was certainly at home in the movie's surroundings, in which the forces of Catholicism and communism do battle. This is the movie's subtext, and it's worth paying attention to.
I think that, in this movie, Pasolini just tried to shock people, while pretending to just document daily life. Certainly it's an accurate chronicle of life (or it feels like it) - however, events have Bach added in the background for an ironic punch or to add gravitas to the proceedings, or huge gaps of narrative are skipped to get to the next twist in our anti-narrative. It all feels just too neatly arranged for maximum depressive effect - surely people aren't this selfish, lazy, morose, and casually violent. Surely humor can be derived from something other than pain. Not in this movie though. It's a remarkable achievement that all this is somehow watchable, and sometimes greatly so. Some sequences really do connect in this very episodic work - the spaghetti sequence, for example, or the end. It's an interesting watch, I guess, but I prefer Mamma Roma.
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