Italy, 1972, 112 min, 2K DCP, Lina Wertmüller, Not Rated, Kino Lorber, Italian with English subtitles
"Sexual hypocrisies and political dilemmas rarely flow smoothly onto the screen. But Lina Wertmüller excels in conveying both in The Seduction of Mimi, ... one of the finest films of this season." – Nora Sayre, New York Times
Wertmüller's signature style of playfully distorted caricature and sharp political satire found its first full expression in this delightful and wickedly funny skewering of Italian class and labor relations that earned her the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Fleeing from the mob, Sicilian laborer Mimi (Giannini) abandons his family to escape to Milan where he promptly falls in love with a hippy radical (Melato) and is pulled into the far left of a political struggle he hardly understands. Refracted through the cracked prism of Giannini's feckless Southerner, Italy's troubled North-South relations and the neverending battle of the sexes are woven into an operatic comedy about the alienation of labor in the 20th century.
Director Lina Wertmüller emblazoned her name in the pantheon of Italian cinema reinventing the narrative forms and character types of her country's comedy. The passionate invectives against social, cultural and historical inequities at the heart of her mid-1970s masterworks The Seduction of Mimi, Love and Anarchy, Swept Away and Seven Beauties helped the pictures find an appreciative audience, especially in the US, where they broke box-office records for foreign films, made Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato an indelible screen couple, and secured Wertmüller an Oscar nomination for Best Director - the very first woman named for this category. Lovingly restored to their original full-length splendor, the return of these four beauties is a timely reminder of what we've missed all these years.
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