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During the 1970s, Lina Wertmüller emblazoned her name into the pantheon of Italian cinema with a series of intensely polemical, deeply controversial and wonderfully entertaining films. Among the most politically outspoken and iconoclastic members of the second generation of postwar directors - the direct heirs to the neo-realists - Wertmüller was also one of the first woman directors to be internationally recognized and acclaimed. Armed with a keenly satiric and Rabelaisian humor, Wertmüller reinvented the narrative forms and character types of Italian comedy to create one of the rare examples of a radical, politically galvanized cinema that managed to achieve widespread popularity. Indeed, the fierce invectives against social, cultural and historical inequities at the heart of Wertmüller's mid-1970s masterworks Love and Anarchy, Seven Beauties and Swept Away seemed only to help the films find an appreciative audience, especially in the United States, where they broke box office records for foreign films and even secured Wertmüller an Oscar nomination for Best Director - the very first woman named for this category. Although Wertmüller remains a well-known name, her remarkable films are strangely overlooked and only selectively revisited. And yet, the incredible energy and daring of her most popular works is equally present in lesser-known masterpieces such as All Screwed Up and The Seduction of Mimi, films that are both extremely topical and yet still totally relevant today.
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