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Lina Wertmuller Kino Lorber Blu-ray Releases

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“A Dash Of Unusual Brilliance Behind A Face With White Glasses”

By Raymond Benson

The somewhat snobbish critic John Simon has said that the only “great” female film directors are Leni Riefenstahl and Lina Wertmüller. I’m sure we can all take issue with such a sexist comment, but he is correct that both women were indeed “great,” even though the former is known for Nazi propaganda films of the 1930s. Wertmüller, on the other hand, made different kinds of scandalous pictures—but at least ones that were, and still are, entertaining. (They also sometimes had whimsically long titles, such as The End of the World in Our Usual Bed on a Night Full of Rain.)

In the early to mid-1970s, Wertmüller was the face of a daring new Italian cinema. When her movies were imported to America and the U.K, she was dubbed the “Female Fellini.” In fact,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

The Quad Cinema Relaunches With New, Career-Spanning Lina Wertmüller Retrospective

As part of the relaunching of New York’s own Quad Cinema, the city will be seeing its most extensive and exciting retrospective of one of Italian cinema’s great unsung legends.

Known to most as the director of that one movie that Madonna would remake with then-hubby Guy Ritchie, the Swept Away director Lina Wertmuller is the subject of this important new retrospective entitled Female Trouble. Running from April 14-30, the retrospective spans the director’s illustrious career which saw her begin as an apprentice for legendary filmmaker Federico Fellini and ultimately become the first female filmmaker every nominated for the Best Director Oscar at the Academy Awards.

Included in this series are a vast number of films, split up between new restorations from Kino Lorber which are making their world premiere as part of this retrospective as well as a handful of rare 35mm prints imported, totalling 14 films
See full article at CriterionCast »

Movie Poster of the Week: Lina Wertmüller in One Sheets and Quattro Foglis

  • MUBI
Above: 1976 Us one sheet for Let’s Talk About Men (Lina Wertmüller, Italy, 1965).In the 1970s, when there were no shortage of things to be excited about in world cinema, Italian director Lina Wertmüller was a bona fide sensation. A small measure of her success can be seen in the poster above (for an early film of hers which was belatedly released in the U.S. after her two major smash hits) in which her name is the most prominent feature of the design. She was impersonated on Saturday Night Live (can even Pedro Almodóvar or Michael Haneke boast that?) and in 1975 she became the first woman to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Director. (There have been only two others in the 40 years since.)She was a polarizing figure back then, but today she is a neglected one. Young cinephiles have probably barely even heard of her, let
See full article at MUBI »

Relaunched Quad Cinema to Host Lina Wertmüller Retrospective

Lina Wertmüller in “Behind White Glasses”

Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmüller made history as the first woman to receive an Academy Award for Best Director back in 1977 for “Seven Beauties.” The trailblazer’s prolific career will be celebrated with “Female Trouble,” an upcoming retrospective held at the relaunched Quad Cinema in New York. Screenings will include “Seven Beauties,” world premieres of new restorations from Kino Lorber, rare imported 35mm prints, and “Behind White Glasses,” Valerio Ruiz’s documentary about Wertmüller’s life and career.

“In the 1970s, Lina Wertmüller was a certifiable international phenomenon — a lively firebrand behind white glasses who became one of the decade’s marquee-name filmmakers,” a press release for the event details. “Her hot-button, epically-titled movies — erotic and polemical and provocative all at once — became must-see conversation pieces and smashed American box-office records for foreign-language films.”

Female Trouble” will include screenings of “Swept Away,” Wertmüller’s update of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” “A Night Full of Rain,” her English-language debut, and “Summer Night,” a Sardinia-set comedy that tackles bondage and voyeurism.

“This series finally offers the opportunity to dive into the history of this extraordinary director, an aesthetic pioneer and a crucial trailblazer in a male-dominated industry,” the event’s press release emphasizes.

Female Trouble” runs from April 14-April 30. Check out the titles screening below, courtesy of Quad Cinema. More information will be available on the theater’s website.

Swept Away (Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto)

Lina Wertmüller, 1974, Italy, 116m, Dcp

Special weeklong revival engagement begins April 21

For her kinky update of The Taming of the Shrew, Wertmüller reteams gorgeous green-eyed muses Mariangela Melato and Giancarlo Giannini as a vacationing society dame and her Communist servant locked in the ultimate battle of the sexes (and classes) once stranded together on a deserted island. Never mind the unfortunate Madonna remake — this bracing, sexy, riotous political fable, one of the most argued-about films of the 1970s, has to be seen to be believed. In Italian with English subtitles.

World premiere of new 2K digital restoration. A Kino Lorber release.

Seven Beauties (Pasqualino Settebellezze)

Lina Wertmüller, 1975, Italy, 115m, Dcp

Special weeklong revival engagement begins April 21

Under fascism, there are no limits to sacrificing one’s honor — and in Wertmüller’s outrageous picaresque, comedy and tragedy are indistinguishable. When city hustler Giancarlo Giannini accidentally murders the lover of one of his seven sisters, a series of mishaps land him in a concentration camp, where he must seduce the homely Nazi commandant to stay alive. Controversial in its day, the film led Wertmüller to become the first woman nominated for a Best Director Oscar. In Italian with English subtitles.

World premiere of new 2K digital restoration. A Kino Lorber release.

“A handbook for survival, a farce, a drama of almost shattering impact. It’s a disorderly epic, seductively beautiful to look at, as often harrowing as it is boisterously funny.” — Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Behind the White Glasses

Valerio Ruiz, Italy, 112m, Dcp

Special weeklong engagement opens April 21

This definitive documentary traces the incredible life of Lina Wertmüller, from her start as a tenacious Fellini assistant to her meteoric rise as a global superstar. The vivacious and fabulous 88-year-old filmmaker recounts the saga of her marriage to designer-collaborator Enrico Job, shows off her trademark eyewear collection, and even sings. Giancarlo Giannini, Sophia Loren, Rutger Hauer, and Martin Scorsese give revealing interviews for this loving portrait, which offers a corrective to decades of critical neglect. Official selection: Venice Film Festival. A Kino Lorber release. In English and Italian with English subtitles.

Director Valerio Ruiz in person at select shows opening weekend. A Kino Lorber release.

“Must-viewing for film buffs.” — The Hollywood Reporter

All Screwed Up (Tutto a posto e niente in ordine)

Lina Wertmüller, 1974, Italy, 105m, Dcp

In Milan, a bawdy group of Sicilian migrants meet-cute and move into a commune together, while they struggle to keep their livelihood — and hold their libidos in check. Wertmüller’s polyphonic farce, with its large ensemble and earworm theme music, helped to further establish her ongoing fascination with the struggles and shenanigans of Italy’s working class. In Italian with English subtitles.

A Kino Lorber release.

“Breathtaking…exuberantly funny. Watching All Screwed Up is to be witness to a giant talent.” — Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Blood Feud (Fatto di sangue fra due uomini per causa di una vedova. Si sospettano moventi politici)

Lina Wertmüller, 1987, Italy, 124m, 35mm

The always-ravishing Sophia Loren stars as a Sicilian widow who loses her husband to the Mafia. Setting out to avenge his death, she becomes entangled in a lurid love triangle along the way, her smitten suitors played by Giancarlo Giannini and Marcello Mastroianni. Lust, revenge, and violence reign supreme in this steamy WWII-set thriller. In Italian with English subtitles.

8 ½

Federico Fellini, 1963, Italy, 138m, 35mm

After her old school friend Flora Carabella married Marcello

Mastroianni, Wertmüller met Fellini and won an apprenticeship on

his seminal portrait of creative crisis. She helped the maestro cast extras

(including her own mother) but Wertmüller didn’t remain an assistant for

long: the same year Fellini helped her secure financing and

cinematographer Gianni Di Venanzo to shoot The Lizards.

In Italian with English subtitles.

Ferdinando e Carolina

Lina Wertmüller, 1999, Italy, 102m, Dcp

One of Wertmüller’s handsomest productions, detailing the life (and death) of King Ferdinand of Naples, here dramatized as another of her sex-crazed heroes. He reminisces of his days as a young philanderer, lamenting his impending marriage to 16-year-old Carolina of Austria — until they discover their shared taste for libertine pleasures. In Italian with English subtitles.

World premiere of new 2K digital restoration. A Kino Lorber release.

Let’s Talk About Men (Questa volta parliamo di uomini)

Lina Wertmüller, 1965, Italy, 91m, 35mm

Wertmüller’s controversial sexual politics are already in full effect in this early episodic farce. A sassy response to Ettore Scola’s Let’s Talk About Women, the film is told as four independent stories — each more outlandish than the next. Brace yourselves for some unconventional solutions to marital discord, including kleptomania and knife-throwing. In Italian with English subtitles.

The Lizards (I basilischi)

Lina Wertmüller, 1963, Italy, 85m, 35mm

Using experience gained as an assistant director on 8 ½ (and using some of Fellini’s crew), Wertmüller made a debut that feels like a direct response to her mentor’s I Vitelloni: a compassionate snapshot of small town coming-of-age, Italian style. But Wertmüller’s treatment, shot for only $60,000, features a style and energy all her own, plus a Morricone score. In Italian with English subtitles.

Love & Anarchy (Film d’amore e d’anarchia, ovvero ‘stamattina alle 10 in via dei Fiori nella nota casa di tolleranza…)

Lina Wertmüller, 1973, Italy, 129m, Dcp

Silk robes and bare breasts abound in this tragicomedy of epic proportions set in a brothel pre-wwii. Freckle-faced ingénue Giancarlo Giannini comes to Rome on a mission to kill Mussolini with the help of politically active prostitute Mariangela Melato. But love gets in the way of anarchy when he falls for one of her fellow ladies of the night. In Italian with English subtitles. In Italian with English subtitles.

A Kino Lorber release.

“Executed with the high-pitched passion of a gothic romance with a fluid, whirling, dazzling energy.” — Newsweek

A Night Full of Rain (La fine del mondo nel nostro solito letto in una notte piena di pioggia)

Lina Wertmüller, 1978, Italy/Canada, 104m, 35mm

Cocksure Communist journalist Giancarlo Giannini elopes with feminist photographer Candice Bergen in Wertmüller’s English-language debut. With no shortage of furtive lovemaking amid endless close-ups of its ever alluring leads, Giuseppe Rotunno’s camera works overtime to provide some of the most lavish imagery of the director’s career.

The Seduction of Mimi (Mimì metallurgico ferito nell’onore)

Lina Wertmüller, 1972, Italy, 112m, Dcp

A wistful romance turned raunchy comedy, this searing take on sexual and political double standards finds laborer Giancarlo Giannini ricocheting between mafiosos and comrades — as well as between his apparently frigid wife and beguiling mistress (Mariangela Melato). In Wertmüller’s world, the bedroom is the only appropriate battleground for revenge — for men and women alike. In Italian with English subtitles.

A Kino Lorber release.

“Rollicking fun.” — Judith Crist, New York

Sotto…Sotto (Sotto… sotto… strapazzato da anomala passione)

Lina Wertmüller, 1984, Italy, 105m, 35mm

A stroll through a sculpture garden inspires a bored housewife to pursue a love affair with her girlfriend, in the spirit of the romantic thrill of her beloved movie melodramas; but her homophobic carpenter husband flies into an increasingly desperate rage as he tries to uncover his wife’s lover. In Italian with English subtitles.

Summer Night (Notte d’estate con profilo greco, occhi a mandorla e odore di basilico)

Lina Wertmüller, 1986, Italy, 94m, Dcp

Even by Wertmüller’s standards this outrageous ’80s companion to Swept Away offers up a particularly impressive menu of sexual perversions, from voyeurism to bondage, plus a severed finger. A Valentino-clad Mariangela Melato plays an especially entitled aristocrat who holds an infamous kidnapper (Michele Placido) hostage for ransom — and animalistic fun — in her gothic palace in remote Sardinia. In Italian with English subtitles.

World premiere of new 2K digital restoration. A Kino Lorber release.

Relaunched Quad Cinema to Host Lina Wertmüller Retrospective was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Italian Siren of Sword-and-Sandal Epics, Sex Comedies Has Died: Rossana Podestà

Rossana Podestà dead at 79: ‘Helen of Troy’ actress later featured in sword-and-sandal spectacles, risqué sex comedies (photo: Jacques Sernas and Rossana Podestà in ‘Helen of Troy’) Rossana Podestà, the sensual star of the 1955 epic Helen of Troy and other sword-and-sandal European productions of the ’50s and ’60s — in addition to a handful of risqué sex comedies of the ’70s — died earlier today, December 10, 2013, in Rome according to several Italian news outlets. Podestà was 79. She was born Carla Dora Podestà on August 20, 1934, in, depending on the source, either Zlitan or Tripoli, in Libya, at the time an Italian colony. According to the IMDb, the renamed Rossana Podestà began her film career in 1950, when she was featured in a small role in Dezsö Ákos Hamza’s Strano appuntamento ("Strange Appointment"). However, according to online reports, she was actually discovered by director Léonide Moguy, who cast her in a small role in
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Alberto Bevilacqua obituary

Italian writer, poet and film-maker who adapted and directed his own novels for the screen

The distinguished Italian novelist, poet and film-maker Alberto Bevilacqua has died aged 79. Bevilacqua was one of the most respected new Italian writers of the 1960s and won fame with two novels, both of which he adapted and directed successfully for the screen: La Califfa (The Lady Caliph), published in 1964 and filmed in 1970, and Questa Specie d'Amore (This Kind of Love), published in 1966 and filmed in 1972.

Bevilacqua was born in Parma and raised in a poor family. In his youth he wrote the novel Una Città in Amore (City of Love), which was reworked and published much later, about his adolescence in Parma and how he and his family took part in the Resistance movement. In 1955 he wrote a book of stories about local life in Parma, La Polvere sull'Erba (Dust in the grass), which was
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Underground Film Links: January 21, 2013

I really wanted to break my link posting hiatus on its traditional Sunday yesterday, but a technical crisis prevented me from doing so. But, here we are:

The other reason I only wanted to come out of hiatus was to share this brilliant article by donna k. giving advice to young filmmakers. I was particularly taken with her 3rd note regarding asking oneself the ever important question “Why make this film?” That’s something I’ve come across on my own as a paid screener for a festival, too, but also checking out the films submitted to Bad Lit via email. When a film doesn’t work, the first question I typically ask myself is: “Why did that person even bother?” And I usually assume the answer is just to regurgitate other shit seen in our culture. So, please take Donna’s advice: Be introspective, thoughtful and have a Pov.
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Glamorous, villainous, outrageous fun: Mike Hodges on the actor Mariangela Melato

The film that possibly gave Mariangela Melato her biggest worldwide exposure was strangely omitted from her obituary. It is Flash Gordon (1980), in which she played the role of Kala, the Emperor Ming's head of security. I directed it and can vouch that Mariangela and Max von Sydow, both very serious actors, revelled in portraying these outrageous villains. We had a lot of fun making that film and I think the fun that she had is up there on the screen.

I had no idea that she had started her career with the radical theatre company of Dario Fo and his wife, Franca Rame, so I did not get to talk to her about what must have been an amazing time in her life. In the mid-60s Fo and Rame performed in London and I became an immediate fan, seeing them on three consecutive nights. Now I can clearly see
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Mariangela Melato

Versatile Italian actor known for her roles in Lina Wertmüller's films

Mariangela Melato, who has died of pancreatic cancer aged 71, was one of Italy's most versatile and vivacious actresses, working in theatre and cinema with some of the leading directors of her time. She won international cult status for three films directed by Lina Wertmüller in which she co-starred with Giancarlo Giannini: The Seduction of Mimi (1972), Love and Anarchy (1973) and Swept Away (1974), in all of which the controversial Wertmüller mixed sex and politics. Melato had no qualms about submitting with great good humour to the sometimes humiliating situations and explicit dialogue inflicted on the two stars.

Those Wertmüller films made Melato well-known, but she liked to be recognised as an actor rather than a star. Born in Milan, she trained at the city's Brera Academy. One of the first companies to sign her up was that of the
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

'Swept Away' actress Mariangela Melato died at 71

'Swept Away' actress Mariangela Melato died at 71
Italian actress Mariangela Melato, known for her critically acclaimed performance as a spoiled socialite stranded with a sailor she had tormented in the 1974 film comedy Swept Away, has died in a Rome hospital at age 71.

The Antea hospital said she died Friday. The Lapresse news agency said she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The blond actress had most success in a series of films in the 1970s directed by Italian Lina Wertmuller, including The Seduction of Mimi and Love and Anarchy.

One of the most acclaimed was the role of a socialite who finds herself stranded with Giancarlo Giannini. Her
See full article at EW.com - Inside Movies »

Italian Actress Dies At 71

Italian Actress Dies At 71
Rome -- Italian actress Mariangela Melato, known for her critically acclaimed performance as a spoiled socialite stranded with a sailor she had tormented in the 1974 film comedy "Swept Away," has died in a Rome hospital at age 71.

The Antea hospital said she died Friday. The Lapresse news agency said she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The blond actress had most success in a series of films in the 1970s directed by Italian Lina Wertmuller, including "The Seduction of Mimi" and "Love and Anarchy."

One of the most acclaimed was the role of a socialite who finds herself stranded with Giancarlo Giannini. Her role was played by Madonna in a 2002 remake.

Melato had less success in Hollywood roles, which included a supporting part in "Flash Gordon" in 1980.
See full article at Huffington Post »

5 June DVD Titles You Should Know About Including 'The 39 Steps,' The Films Of Lina Wertmüller & More

Well, the dog days of summer are fast approaching, and what better way to duck out of the heat than by spending a cool day inside, AC-blasting, with your Blu-ray player and an endless supply of chilled adult beverages. June sees the release of an Alfred Hitchcock classic (beautifully restored), a trio of Lina Wertmüller gems, a nearly lost Michael Curtiz effort, a movie about the sex lives of ghosts, and a plane crash survival tale sold on the, er, ample merits of its female lead.

“The 39 Steps” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1935)

Why You Should Care: Because “The 39 Steps,” a crackling (86 minutes!) spy thriller from Alfred Hitchcock, is one of the most beloved British movies of all time, coming in at fourth place in the British Film Institute’s poll of top British films, and more recently, named the 21st greatest British film of all time by movie magazine Total Film. The film,
See full article at The Playlist »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Lina Wertmüller Collection

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: June 12, 2012

Price: DVD $59.95, Blu-ray $29.95 for each title individually

Studio: Kino Lorber

Kino Lorber’s Lina Wertmüller Collection is a three-dvd anthology of politically charged comedy and drama films by the noted Italian filmmaker: The Seduction of Mimi (1972), Love & Anarchy (1973) and All Screwed Up (1974)

Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato star in The Seduction of Mimi.

During the Seventies, Wertmüller was considered to be one of the most politically outspoken and iconoclastic members of the second generation of Italy’s postwar directors. She was also one of the first female directors to win international recognition and acclaim, becoming the first woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director for her 1975 movie Seven Beauties.

The Seduction of Mimi (1972): Taking aim at a corrupt government, compromised labor leaders and the sexual politics of men in power, this comedy-satire looks at a Sicilian laborer, Mimi (Giancarlo Giannini
See full article at Disc Dish »

Blu-Ray Round Up, June 21, 2010: ‘Bad Boys,’ ‘Darkman,’ ‘Flash Gordon’

Chicago – It’s been some time since HollywoodChicago.com’s beloved Blu-ray Round-Up column made an appearance to highlight a few recently released HD titles that may have slid just a bit below your radar while you were busy seeing “Toy Story 3” this weekend. We try but can’t devote the time for a full-length review to every title but we wanted to make sure you knew these potential purchases were out there, waiting for your hard-earned paycheck.

Bad Boys” was released on June 1st, 2010.

“Animation Express” was released on June 8th, 2010.

Darkman” and “Flash Gordon” were released on June 15th, 2010.

Bad Boys

Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Video

Synopsis: “From director Michael Bay (“Transformers,” “Armageddon”) comes a thrill rise of explosive action from beginning to end. One hundred million dollars worth of confiscated heroin has just been jacked from police custody. Once the career bust of Detectives Mike
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

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