Accattone (Citti) is a shiftless pimp in the slums of Rome, lollygagging at local cafés with his friends and evading line-ups when his street girls are rounded up. As a deadbeat husband and father despised by his wife's family for refusing to work, Accattone is accustomed to hardship, often enduring days without food. But his attitude changes when he meets and falls for innocent blonde beauty Stella (Pasut), for whom he attempts to remold himself.
Why we love it
An illustrious poet and novelist before he turned to filmmaking, Pasolini has always been interested in the urban "peasants" of Italy, whose everyday lives he felt still had a mythic, noble quality that transcended religion or so-called cultured society. "Accattone," his first feature, is a bracing drama of gritty realism, mixing irreverent humor and quietly heartbreaking observations of poverty. Citti is a likable, charismatic presence, carrying the weight of the world in his slump-shouldered indolence and shrugging, fatalistic attitude. Pasolini came from an elite world of letters, but his antagonistic vision of the dignity of the underclass feels thoroughly authentic.