Film Guide: Lina Wertmuller

Lina Wertmuller is an important Italian director. She had once worked with the great director Fellini on 8 ½. Her films revealed a talent for sociopolitical satire. Here I want to talk about some of her films and you can see why she’s an important figure of Italian Cinema.

The Lizards (1963)
This film is the view of the male in small-town Italy, living aimlessly but in smug expectation of a better life. The Lizards was Lina’s first film.

The Seduction of Mimi
Giancarlo Giannini plays a man named Mimi who is driven out of his town by the Mafia. Well while he is gone his wife has an affair with a city official. He also has an affair with a woman and gets her pregnant. His wife is also pregnant and for some reason he thinks that he should seduce the official’s wife. Well things go wrong when the official is murdered and Mimi is blamed. He is sent in prison and when released is greeted by two wives and seven children. He is also now totally dependent on the Mafia for work and at the end his fists pound on the prison doors. It’s irony that showcases very well in this film.

Love and Anarchy
Giancarlo Giannini is once again the main character. Here he portrayed as a man who is out to assassinate Mussolini after Fascist action kills one of his friends. Well he meets a woman named Trippolina and falls in love with her. She doesn’t like his plan and prevents the assassination attempt. He then goes berserk, shoots several soldiers, and is captured and executed. The film showcases that a man’s foolish efforts at social issues are bared with tragicomic force.

Swept Away
Don’t worry this isn’t the awful film that Madonna was in. The original film which of course starred Giannini and it’s about a man and a woman who are stranded on an island. She’s spoiled and he tries to break her. Political irony like all of her films is the end of result between males and females.

So what you must know that Wertmuller’s films are dark satire films. There is some much ado to the actor Giancarlo Giannini because he always gave a raw performance. No wonder why she added him in her films. Her methods are always seduction, comedy, and repulsion. Though her films aren’t for everyone, they each have a lesson about the world of fascism, war, and between human beings.


Beaver, F. E. (1983 ). Lina Wertmuller . In F. E. Beaver, On Film: A History of the Motion Picture (pp. 400-403).