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MEAN STREETS

USA, 1973 (MIFF 1974)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Charlie Cappa is a twenty-seven year-old second-generation Italian American. He lives in New York, supported by his mother. For him, life in 'little Italy' is a desperate case of survival, complicated by his Catholic upbringing, which has left him with many unresolved conflicts.

Charlie is a collector for his uncle Giovanni's loan racket, and is being considered to take over a restaurant whose manager has fallen behind in his payments. However, Giovanni warns Charlie to stay away from his friend Johnny Boy and his epileptic cousin Theresa. But Charlie protects Johnny from a loan shark and carries on an affair with Theresa.

Under pressure from the rival gangs and polic, the three-way relationship begins to crumple. But Charlie decides to take Johnny out of town until things cool off, and Theresa asks to go along. On the way, their car is intercepted by the loan shark who is accompanied by a hired killer. The film ends in violence and tragedy.

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