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Lina Wertmüller

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Lina Wertmüller etched her name into the pantheon of Italian cinema throughout the 1970s with a succession of strongly polemical, immensely contentious, and brilliantly entertaining pictures. Wertmüller was one of the most politically vocal and unconventional members of the second generation of postwar directors – the direct successors to the neo-realists – and one of the first female directors to be widely recognized and appreciated.

Wertmüller changed the narrative patterns and character types of Italian comedy, resulting in one of the few examples of a radical, politically energized movie that managed to reach universal success. Indeed, the ferocious invectives against social, cultural, and historical inequities at the heart of Wertmüller’s mid-1970s masterworks Love and Anarchy, Seven Beauties, The Seduction of Mimi, and Swept Away seemed only to help the films find an appreciative audience, especially in the United States, where they broke box office records for foreign films and earned Wertmüller an Oscar nomination for Best Director – the first woman nominated in this category.

 

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