The Mourning: Lina Wertmuller is dead
Vita Gazette- Lina Wertmuller is the death of a great director who made films full of irony and intelligence, the first woman nominated for an Oscar for best director
Although Lina Wertmuller is not mentioned as often as Fellini and Pasolini, she is one of the most extraordinary directors of her period. Especially in the 1960s and 1970s, she produced films on class conflict, the legacy of World War II and fascism and the effects of male chauvinism on social life.
Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmuller von Elgg Spanol von Braueich, this is the name in the registry office of Lina Wertmuller, the most famous Italian director, who died today 9 December at the age of 93. Born in Rome in 1928, she was the first woman nominated for an Oscar for best director (1976). The film, Pasqualino Settebellezze. In 2020, an honorary Oscar came for her. Guide and icon for female directors from all over the world, Wertmüller started this profession when there were few people who did it and her films met with great commercial and critical success.
Lina Wertmuller did puppet theater before entering the cinema. She began shooting as an assistant in Fellini’s Eight and a Half. Fellini’s influence begins to manifest itself in her first film, Lizards (I Basilichi, 1963). Focused on three young people who wander aimlessly in the Italian countryside and dream of going to Rome, the film is very similar in subject and atmosphere to Fellini’s Immigrants (I Vitelloni, 1953). In his later films, she used grotesque objects and fat women in a Fellinian way.
Although Wertmuller came from a wealthy family of aristocratic origin, she was a socialist. She used fascism as a grotesque and absurd element in all of his films. She took advantage of the comic elements of the Italian theater while mocking fascism. The film The Seven Beauties (Pasqualino Settebellezze, 1975) begins with an archive footage of Hitler and Mussolini shaking hands. In the film, Pasqualino, played by Wertmü-uller’s favorite actor, Giancarlo Gianni, commits many quacks and antics to survive in the concentration camp. And it uses the traditions of the Italian-style commedia dell’arte. Wertmüller, who caricature fascists in all her films, ironically lowers those who fell under the flamboyant charm of fascism in the years when fascism ruled the country in grotesque situations. It showed fascism for provocative purposes, beyond its dark side, as a tragicomic human condition.
She criticizes both men and women in his films. In Wertmüller’s films, such as in Mimì Metallurgico Feritonell’Onore (La seduzione di Mimi, 1972), which tells the story of Mimì (Giancarlo Giannini), who does not get out of trouble, it is always men who fall out of favor by being stupid. But often women are at the center of the events that cause this situation.
Lina Wertmüller is also known for naming her films. Also in this field, the film with the longest title entered the Guinness Book of Records: A Fact of Blood in the Municipality of Siculiana between two men for the cause of a widow. Political motives are suspected. Love Death Shimmy. Lugano Beautiful. Tarantelle. Tarallucci and Wine (1978). (The name of the film he made in 1973 was the following: Film of Love and Anarchy, That is: This morning at 10, in Via dei Fiori, In the well-known House of Tolerance … Wertmüller put together long film titles with the aim of of increasing the cost of their producers, who had a hard time getting them into posters, he said he designed it as a joke…
His iconic white glasses were his favorite items. “I always wear black and I love chocolate ice cream,” he said in an interview with Officiel in 2020. Wertmüller “bravely undermined political and social rules through his favorite weapon, the camera.” The director loved Naples very much and became an honorary citizen of it: “More than a city, an ancient pearl”.