Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Mimì metallurgico ferito nell’onore
Italy, 1972. Euro International Film. Story and Screenplay by Lina Wertmuller. Cinematography by Dario Di Palma. Produced by Romano Cardarelli, Daniele Senatore. Music by Piero Piccioni. Production Design by Amedeo Fago. Costume Design by Enrico Job. Film Editing by Franco Fraticelli. Cannes Film Festival 1972.
Lina Wertmuller’s first collaboration with Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato as an onscreen team also marks her breakthrough as a director of note, one of the few intelligently political thinkers who could make her films as entertaining and humorous as they were thought-provoking. Giannini is excellent as a poor Sicilian construction worker who is fired after voting left in a “secret ballot” election. He leaves his wife behind and seeks his fortune in Turin, where the skies are greyer than they are in Sicily but the mob control of the labour situation is no different than it was back home. Dropping the right name in a tight circumstance sees him get a better job at an automobile factory and he has no problem transitioning from a passionate communist to a comfortable capitalist, taking on a mistress (Melato) and enjoying a serious relationship with her until a transfer sends him back south. Wertmuller always winks at her audience without undercutting the message, there is as much force to her educated feelings as there is a deep understanding of just how much the human need for love, sex and security ruin anyone’s plans for succeeding in economics or politics. This one gets a bit long in its final third, she would shape up the perfection of her sense of plotting with the next few films, but it’s still more than worth the effort and one of her brightest gems.