SEVEN BEAUTIES (1975) [Feature]

Italy (MIFF 1976 )
Director: Lina Wertmuller

As in The Seduction of Mimi, Lina Wertmuller is concerned with the sexual swagger and pretension of the Italian male, but this time in a wider setting that transforms her earlier theme. Giancarlo Giannini plays Pasqualino, a desperate survivor from the slums of Naples, trading ruthlessly on his physical agility and attractiveness. He is nicknamed 'Seven Beauties' in ironic allusion to his seven lumpy sisters. Almost by accident, he murders the man who turned his oldest sister into a prostitute, and pleads insanity at the trial. From then on, he moves from one kind of madness to another: first in an insane asylum, and then in the army. He is sent to the front during the second world war and survives by an inimitable mixture of cowardice, and cunning. Captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp, he desperately tries his seductive powers upon the mountainous female commandant. Lina Wertmuller illustrates the ways Pasqualino stays alive throughout his picaresque wanderings, but also shows the price he has to pay.

'Her humour is startling and raucous, but always purposeful. The comedy compliments, never contradicts, the brilliant brute force of her movie.'

Jay Cocks, Time

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