Written & Directed By: Lina Wertmuller
Cinematography: Daria DiPalma
Editor: Franco Fraticelli
Cast: Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato, Agostina Belli, Luigi Diberti, Elena Fiore
After voting against the powerful Mafia candidate in Sicily, in what seemed like a secret ballot, impecunious Mimì finds himself with his back to the wall. Desperate, and having no one to turn to, Mimì abandons his wife, Rosalia, and relocates to the bustling city of Turin, only to fall for the beautiful Trotskyist, Fiore. One child later, and as one thing leads to another, Mimì gradually realizes that he is not ready to accept the new social morals that prevail in the industrialized north, catching, once more, the Mafia’s attention. Now, political beliefs, loyalty, infidelity, and revenge become inextricably intertwined, and once again, Mimì is left with nothing, having no other choice but to return to Sicily. But, can he keep his life in Turin secret?
This film has the set-up of a comedy with a cowardly protagonist who it’s hard to feel sorry for as he keeps getting himself in trouble out of machismo, Revenge, and sex. Where somehow he usually fails up. Getting promotions and more money. Though supposedly anti-government.
Once he finds true love he works for it. But continues to fail. As he can’t even be loyal to a political party, but that is More due to pressure and assassination attempts. So that is understandable. This is truly the tale of a man who stands for nothing and pays the price for it.
I was introduced to the tale years ago watching it’s American remake “WHICH WAY IS UP?” Starring Richard Pryor abs tailor-made for his talents. Dipped into the politics at the time as background. The only difference is that Pryor played different characters In his version.
This film is also dipped into politics. We watch as the main character gets what he wants but keeps messing. It up due to hubris and when threatened quickly shows how cowardly he is. Along the way, he is never truly satisfied.
The third act at first makes no sense but as you learn more about it, it feels ridiculous though also, in the end, feels like a punchline. As it is all about foolish pride. Which truly becomes his undoing and exposes his character losing all he has.
Mariangela Melato again is a screen goddess. Still as amazing and fiery as in SWEPT AWAY co-Starring with Giancarlo Giannini again.
you can understand and see why he gets obsessed and tries to seduce her. Why he is willing to risk it all for her. Even as she makes her rules clear though amazed she stick by him. So thoroughly throughout and why she leaves after such a minor betrayal compared to his many others that She can forgive. He has no loyalty to anyone, including his family
Some scenes seem there to just add to the artistic surreal quality of the film and while there are build-up and reasons for these scenes. They also feel like episodic escapes.
The film is lively and ridiculous, but so artistic that it feels naturalistic and beautiful constantly and comes across deeper than it actually ends up being. Though it is heartbreaking. It is a comedy at heart, though so sad.
One of my favorite classic iconic directors to keep discovering her movies. Who might happen to be one of my favorite directors, who happens to be female (at least next to Nicole Holofcener) she has truly outdone herself here.
In the end, the film plays off like a grand comedy of morals and cowardness. That feels gross and political all at the same time.