|Greetings Cinema friends,|
Six months ago, on December 9, 2021, global cinema lost one of its most provocative voices. The first woman to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, Lina Wertmüller left behind a fiercely independent legacy of films that weaponized comedy to skewer the status quo and the people that defended it. Next week, we begin our newest entry in the Passport series, Love & Anarchy: The Radical Comedies of Lina Wertmüller.
Extravagantly colorful, sexually-charged, and acidicly funny, we present three films—The Seduction of Mimi, All Screwed Up, and Love & Anarchy—produced in rapid succession from 1972-1974 finding Lina Wertmüller and global cinema writ large at a charmingly anarchic high.
Born Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller von Elgg Spanol von Braueich in 1928 in Rome, Lina came of age in the aftermath of Mousolini’s facsist Italy and World War II. As a young artist, she traveled Europe with avant-garde theatre troupes and leftist puppet shows. By the early 60s, Wertmüller had, quite fittingly, entered into mentorship with il maestro himself, Frederico Fellini (working as Assistant Director to 8½), gaining the material support to take her ideas to the screen.
|Blending sex, farce, and tragedy, Lina Wertmüller’s cinema was, first and foremost, about her politics. Her films position men especially in love and ideology, (not without some sympathy) as neanderthals. But she challenged the second-wave feminism of her time by rejecting an equality that ignored the intersection of gender and class—shredding both proletarian male-chauvinists as well as the women of the bourgeoisie.|
Finally receiving an Academy Honorary Award two years before her death, she paused on stage to reflect on the trophy itself. She said, translated through Isabella Rossellini, that she’d prefer her accomplishments not be celebrated with a small, golden man, opting instead to name her Oscar Anna.