By Dade Hayes
Updated September 02, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Lina Wertmuller Collection

type
  • Movie

Lina Wertmüller digs the grotesque. In the Italian director’s eyes, a bowl of pasta becomes an undulating intestinal mass. A Nazi prison guard turns into a leering, plus-size perv. And the turquoise Mediterranean runs disquietingly deep. The unblinking Seven Beauties, about a conniver surviving the Holocaust (Oscar nominee Giancarlo Giannini), carves comedic serendipity out of the torture and gore, more than 20 years before Life Is Beautiful. Less of a tour de force is Swept Away, the barbed satire-cum-romance that shipwrecks Giannini and Mariangela Melato (who later resurfaces in Summer Night, a polemical but engaging farce seemingly shot on the Swept Away set). The pure comedy here is Ferdinando and Carolina, a disarming spoof of 18th-century royalty, while The Nymph, the lush, Ennio Morricone-scored story of a teenage orphan who overcomes small-town sexism to find true love, is the set’s buried treasure.

EXTRAS Accompanying these varied, challenging films is only a shoddily subtitled 2002 interview with Wertmüller that mostly covers work not included here. The firebrand who was the first female nominee for the Best Director Oscar (for Seven Beauties) deserves better.

Episode Recaps

Lina Wertmuller Collection

type
  • Movie
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