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Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote and directed the 1961 Italian drama film Accattone. Despite having an original script, the film is sometimes seen as a cinematic adaptation of Pasolini’s previous books, notably Ragazzi di vita (The Ragazzi, 1955) and Una vita violenta (The Violent Life, 1956). (A Violent Life, 1959). Accattone, Pasolini’s debut film as a director, employs what would later be considered his signature features: a cast of non-professional actors from the film’s locale and a thematic emphasis on destitute folk.

While many were astonished by his transition from literature to film, Pasolini had pondered attending Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia before WWII. He had also worked with Federico Fellini on Le notti di Cabiria (1957) and saw the film as writing with reality. The term ‘accattone’ is an informal noun that means “scrounger” or “vagabond.”

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