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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.
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