Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Italy, 1975. Medusa Distribuzione. Screenplay by Lina Wertmuller. Cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli. Produced by Arrigo Colombo, Lina Wertmuller. Music by Enzo Jannacci. Production Design by Enrico Job. Costume Design by Enrico Job. Film Editing by Franco Fraticelli. Academy Awards 1976. Golden Globe Awards 1976.
Lina Wertmuller made history by becoming the first (and until 1994, only) woman ever to be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Director for this genius Italian film. Giancarlo Giannini is, as usual, mesmerizing as a local street thug famous for his tough ideas about honour, and his seven unmarriageably ugly sisters. At the film’s opening he is a soldier in the army during World War II who abandons his squadron, gets caught and is put into a concentration camp. While there he reflects on his life in the village prior to the war and thinks up whatever schemes he can to survive the camp’s sadistic commandant in order to remain alive until the war’s end. As with her other masterpiece (because some artists really can have more than one, despite the dictionary meaning of the word), Love And Anarchy, Wertmuller combines rich visual stylistics with hard-hitting political fever to provide one wallop of entertainment. Superb filmmaking, and a pristine example of seventies political storytelling at its height.