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Accattone / Love Meetings(1961)
Sloven, narcisstic and brutal, Vittorio is a small time pimp whose world is thrown into crisis when his meal-ticket is sent to jail. He re-establishes his usual business model by seducing Stella, at first just another innocent peasant girl. But this time Accattone finds himself instead seduced by Stella's angelic innocence and determines to go straight.
For more about Accattone / Love Meetings and the Accattone / Love Meetings Blu-ray release, see Accattone / Love Meetings Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 21, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Writers: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sergio Citti
Starring: Franco Citti, Franca Pasut, Silvana Corsini, Adriana Asti, Paola Guidi, Luciano Conti
» See full cast & crew
Accattone / Love Meetings Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 21, 2012
Screened at the Venice Film Festival, Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Accattone" (1961) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Eureka Entertainment. The supplemental features on the disc include the Italian director's "Comizi d'amore" a.k.a "Love Meetings" (1964); original trailers; and audio commentary by film critic Tony Rayns. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring rare archival imagery, the words of Pasolini, and more. In Italian, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Franco Citti is Accattone, a cynical and violent young pimp who spends his time in the slums of Rome. He is also a husband and father, but his wife has left him and taken their son with her. Her family has warned him to stay away from them and forget that they exist.
For a while Accattone does just that - he hangs around with his lowly friends and spends the money his golden goose, the naive prostitute Maddalena (Silvana Corsini), gives him. Life is easy and fun and Accattone quickly forgets about his family.
But when Maddalena is arrested and jailed, Accattone's life begins to spiral out of control. First he realizes that he can no longer support himself, and then his friends, who have been taking advantage of him, begin ridiculing him. Nevertheless, Accattone stays with them and together they wander around the streets of Rome, joking, laughing, and looking for the next easy score.
Eventually, Accattone meets Stella (Franca Pasut), a peasant girl who has come to the big city hoping to land a good job but is now collecting empty bottles and selling them for pennies. He takes her out dancing and later on shows her how much more she could make if she started seeing handsome gentlemen willing to pay for her company. Stella tries to become a prostitute but quickly realizes that she can't and instead falls in love with Accattone.
Meanwhile, the frustrated and disillusioned Accattone manages to get a low-paying job at a scrapyard, but filled with anger and blaming everyone around him for his misery he immediately loses it. Left with no other options to make ends meet, he reunites with his old friends and they head back to the streets, looking to steal anything that they could sell.
Though it may seem like Pier Paolo Pasolini's directorial debut has plenty in common with the films of the Italian Neorealists, it is actually a well scripted drama with a crystal clear political message. Small portions of it have that familiar raw and gritty look, but the rest of the film is infused with poetic beauty, at times even sensual melancholy.
Accattone is essentially portrayed as a corrupt martyr – he isn't an idealist, but he is firmly convinced that existing instead of living isn't worth it. He has become a pimp – and thus forced others to exist – but out of necessity. Naturally, the point the film makes is that the real villain is the unjust socio-political system, which has created a vicious cycle and forced the poor in it.
While Accattone's life slowly spirals out of control, various Catholic references are countered with Marxist rhetoric. However, the intensity with which Pasolini's political views enter the film is hardly comparable to that of his latter films, and especially his controversial Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom.
The cast of predominantly non-professionals is outstanding. Citti's intense performance, in particular, transforms the entire film. Pasut is also very convincing as the naive peasant girl. (A young Adriana Asti also has a small but memorable role).
Bernardo Bertolucci acted as production assistant in Accattone. This was his first big job in the movie business.
Note: Accattone premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 1961, where it immediately divided critics.
Accattone / Love Meetings Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Pier Paolo Pasolini's Accattone arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Eureka Entertainment.
Note: Screencaptures #1-19 are from Accattone, while screencaptures #21-30 are from Comizi d'amore.
I did a few quick comparisons with my R2 DVD (from the now out of print Pier Paolo Pasolini Vol.1 box set, which Tartan Video released in the UK quite some time ago) and I could easily say that the improvements in terms of detail, depth, and especially clarity are indeed substantial. The overwhelming majority of the close-ups, for instance, convey very pleasing depth which is simply missing on the standard definition transfer (see screencapture #12). The nighttime footage also looks a lot tighter on the Blu-ray release. For example, during the party where Accattone pushes Stella into the arms of the two wealthy gentlemen there are absolutely no traces of the macroblocking that plagues the standard definition transfer. Contrast is also much more convincing. Color gradation is also a lot stronger - the whites and grays are far richer, while the blacks look solid. It needs to be said, however, that natural light plays a very important role in Accattone, which is why in a lot of sequences the blacks and whites have different complexion. There are no traces of compromising denoising/degraining corrections. Unsurprisingly, when projected the film boasts very strong organic qualities. Finally, there are no serious purely transfer-specific anomalies to report in this review. All in all, this is a competent and ultimately extremely pleasing presentation which will likely remain the definitive presentation of Accattone for years to come. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Accattone / Love Meetings Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Accattone arrives with a standard Italian LPCM 2.0 track. For the record, Eureka Entertainment have provided optional English subtitles.
The audio appears to have been optimized as best as possible. The dialog has pleasing depth and crispness and there are no high-frequency distortions to report in this review. Obviously, as the action moves from one location to another there are minor fluctuations in terms of dynamic progression, but the loseless track is not to be blamed for them as they are clearly part of the film's original sound design. Lastly, there are no sync issues or audio dropouts.
Accattone / Love Meetings Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Accattone / Love Meetings Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Releases such as this one make me so incredibly grateful that we have Blu-ray. I am even more grateful that labels such as Eureka Entertainment, which is run by true enthusiasts, exist. I was very much looking forward to Pier Paolo Pasolini's Accattone, and suffice to say, I could not be any happier with the presentation. Now, the release is guaranteed to appear on my Top 10 list at the end of the year. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Accattone / Love Meetings Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Accattone/Comizi d'amore Blu-ray Officially Announced - January 7, 2012
Independent British distributors Eureka Entertainment have officially announced their upcoming Dual Format Edition of controversial Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini's (Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom; The Gospel According to Matthew; The Decameron) Accattone ...
• Pasolini, Melville, Imamura, Watkins, Cox, McCarey, and Hellman F... - October 4, 2011
Eureka Entertainment have revealed that they are getting ready to release a number of classic and cult films on Blu-ray: Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Silence de la Mer (1949), Pier Paolo Pasolini's Accattone (1961) and The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), Shohei ...
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