All Screwed Up (1974)

LINA WERTMULLER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.

Original title:  Tutto A Posto E Niente In Ordine

Italy, 1974.  Euro International Film.  Screenplay by Lina Wertmuller.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by Enrico Job.  Film Editing by .   

Two men arrive in Milan from southern Italy in the hopes of taking advantage of the city’s bustling industry to make better lives for themselves. They almost immediately get caught up with two women with whom they start a communal living building, where expenses and duties are distributed and priced under the most equitable of socialist conditions. The boys take on an assortment of jobs to make money, including a slaughterhouse, a pizzeria and fruit market, blending together all their desires (women, money) and frustrations (women, money), getting into trouble and keeping the peace in the crazy energy of their commune. Director Lina Wertmuller gives this continued exploration of her socialist curiousities all the manic, excitingly sexy energy she puts into all her work, as well as some of the irony that keeps her from ever being didactic; as usual, people try for equality but it’s not possible when skill sets and sexual desire come in to play. That said, even a movie like Swept Away comes off subtle allegory compared to the pedantic sermonizing here; her politics might pass muster for being complicated and intelligent but her characters rarely become more than symbols. The plight of southerners living meagre lives in the soulless north is laid broadly enough for a first year film student to figure out in seconds (their first job is a slaughter house where they skin cattle the way the city skins them), while the interactions of personalities rarely work on their own as drama.

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