Pasolini protégé & collaborator Sergio Citti dead at 72
Sergio Citti, a close friend, frequent collaborator, and protégé of controversial filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, died on Oct. 11 in Rome. Citti, who had been suffering from heart problems, was 72.
Credited with introducing Pasolini to the denizens of Rome’s rough suburbs, the Roman-born Sergio Citti (on May 30, 1933) acted as dialogue consultant on numerous Pasolini films, writing most of the dialogue for the director’s Accattone (1961) and collaborating on Mamma Roma (1962), starring Anna Magnani. Both Accattone, the tale of a Roman pimp, and Mamma Roma, in which Magnani plays a Roman sex worker, featured Sergio Citti’s brother, Franco Citti (who’s now 67 years old).
Among the other Sergio Citti / Pier Paolo Pasolini collaborations, with Citti as screenwriter, dialogue writer, and/or assistant director, were The Witches (1967), Medea (1969), The Decameron (1971), The Canterbury Tales (1972), and Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975). Citti and Pasolini also worked together on the screenplays for two 1962 dramas: Bernardo Bertolucci’s crime tale The Grim Reaper / La commare secca, and Paolo Heusch and Brunello Rondi’s Violent Life / Una vita violenta.
Sergio Citti as director
Additionally, Sergio Citti directed about a dozen films, beginning with the 1970 drama Ostia, set in the Roman suburb of the same name. Citti and Pasolini collaborated on the screenplay. Laurent Terzieff and Franco Citti were featured in the film, alongside Bicycle Thieves’ Lamberto Maggiorani in a supporting role.
Among Citti’s other directorial efforts were Bawdy Tales / Storie scellerate (1973), set in 18th century Italy; Two Pieces of Bread / Due pezzi di pane (1979) with Vittorio Gassman; Berlin Film Festival entry Il Minestrone (1981), with Roberto Benigni, Ninetto Davoli, and Franco Citti; and Vipera (2000), starring Harvey Keitel and Giancarlo Giannini. Citti directed his last film, Fratella e Sorello / Sister and Brother (2005), from a wheelchair.
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s murder
Sergio Citti had always maintained that Pasolini’s 1975 murder was a direct result of his radical political views. In recent years, Citti had campaigned for the reopening of a probe into his former mentor’s death.