FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCTOBER 20, 1997

Contact Margot Gerber

Tel.: 213/466-FILM ext. 115

 

ITALIAN FILMMAKER LINA WERTMÜLLER WILL APPEAR IN-PERSON FOR AN AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE RETROSPECTIVE COVERING THREE DECADES

OF HER CONTROVERSIAL FILMMAKING

 

Featuring the Los Angeles premieres of Wertmüller's latest films, THE NYMPH and THE WORKER AND THE HAIRDRESSER IN A WHIRLWIND OF SEX AND POLITICS

 

Co-presented with Cinecittà International - Division of Ente Cinema spa

Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Italy and the Italian Heritage Culture Foundation

 

Weekends November 14-29, 1997

 

HOLLYWOOD – Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmüller will appear in-person for the American Cinematheque’s retrospective, SWEPT AWAY BY AN UNUSUAL FILMMAKER NAMED LINA WERTMÜLLER, which runs weekends, November 14th through 29th. The series kicks off with a new 35mm print of Wertmüller's most controversial film, SWEPT AWAY BY AN UNUSUAL DESTINY IN THE BLUE SEA OF AUGUST (1974), which stars her longtime collaborator Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato as people from different social classes, together on a deserted island. Other highlights of the series include an ultra rare screening of Wertmüller's first film, THE LIZARDS (1963), a beautiful and unsentimental portrait of a group of young people trying to decide their futures in a southern Italian town; the Los Angeles premieres of Wertmüller's latest films THE NYMPH and THE WORKER AND THE HAIRDRESSER IN A WHIRLWIND OF SEX AND POLITICS; a new 35mm print of Wertmüller's undisputed, Academy Award-nominated masterpiece SEVEN BEAUTIES (1976); a new uncut 35mm print of the European version of THE SEDUCTION OF MIMI (1972); and Wertmüller's biggest hit since the late 1970's, CIAO, PROFESSORE. Few filmmakers, male or female, have stirred up as much controversy as Lina Wertmüller. Her films burst out at you in a mad rush of sex, slapstick, political debate and sputtering obscenity, like a raunchy comic opera played out against the terrible history of the 20th century. Wertmüller has the distinction of being the first woman to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Lina Wertmüller is scheduled to appear for discussion during the series. Call 213.466-FILM, ext. 2 for dates and times. All screenings are at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater. (5300 Melrose Avenue between Bronson & Van Ness) in Hollywood.

American Cinematheque

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard., 3rd Floor, Hollywood, CA 90028

(tel) 213.466.3456 u (fax) 213.461.9737

Now on the web!!! http://www.americancinematheque.co

 

Lina Wertmüller has always played by her own rules. Her fascination with disorder, politics, religion and controversy as well as her rebellious nature began at an early age when as a teenager, she managed to get herself expelled from 15 Catholic schools. Thus, as a filmmaker, it should come as no surprise that few people -- male or female -- have stirred up as much controversy as this quite unusual and remarkable woman. In the 1970's, American film critics lined up pro (John Simon, Vincent Canby) and con (Molly Haskell) about Wertmüller, while back home, Italian journalists dubbed her "Santa Lina di New York" for her rapturous reception in the Big Apple. Writer Henry Miller said of Wertmüller, "Lina, in my opinion, is a better director than any man. When I saw SWEPT AWAY I was reminded of Tropic of Cancer and Sexus. Humor and fucking -- lots of it, a belly full … Hollywood doesn't give us that, for all of the stars they have." After an early career working and writing for radio, television and theater, Wertmüller signed on as Fellini's assistant on 8-1/2. She left during shooting (taking some of his crew with her!) to make her first film, THE LIZARDS in 1963, becoming one of the first women in Italy to write and direct a feature. Though their friendship began a few years earlier, it was not until 1966 that Wertmüller and the already-acclaimed young stage actor, Giancarlo Giannini worked together. The pair made eight films together, including SEVEN BEAUTIES and SWEPT AWAY, that still stand as one of the finest director/actor combinations on film.

Friday, November 14, 1997

The Friday, November 14th program begins at 7:15 PM with a screening of a new 35 mm print of SWEPT AWAY BY AN UNUSUAL DESTINY IN THE BLUE SEA OF AUGUST (TRAVOLTI DA UN INSOLITO DESTINO NELL'AZZURRO MARE D'AGOSTO) (1974, 125 min) starring Giancarlo Giannini as a scruffy ship hand forced to endure the political and social criticism of a beautiful aristocrat played by Mariangela Melato. When their yacht is blown off course, fate and the tide sweep the pair to a remote and uninhabited island. It is here that Giannini is finally able to exact brutal revenge on his gorgeous nemesis in the name of the working class. The roles of master and slave are reversed in a sophisticated mixture of visceral cruelty and hilarious battles of will. There are more outrageous insults and obscenities in SWEPT AWAY than in all of Scorsese combined! Following at 9:45 PM is an ultra rare screening of THE LIZARDS (I BASILICHI) (1963, 85 min.), Wertmüller's directorial debut. In the tradition of Fellini's I VITELLONI, the film is a beautiful, yet unsentimental portrait of a group of young men trapped in a small southern Italian town. Toni Petruzzi and Stefano Sattaflores star as the film's aimless, but still hopeful heroes, dreaming of better lives in Rome but unable to break away from the sleepy pull of the Palazzo San Gervasio. Wertmüller gave the film its title to indicate "the reactionary apathy of some zones in southern Italy in analogy with the typical immobility of lizards in the sun."

Saturday, November 15, 1997

The Saturday, November 15th program begins at 7:15 PM with a new 35mm print of one of the most pivotal films of the 1970's, SEVEN BEAUTIES (PASQUALINO SETTEBELLEZZE) (1976, 115 min.) which received Academy Award nomination in the categories of: Best Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film. The film is the grotesquely funny story of Pasqualino Settebellezze, a small time crook and ladies' man who fumbles his way through the atrocities of World War II. Giancarlo Giannini's Academy Award nominated performance is sheer genius. He is a "Chaplinesque Valentino," a silent film clown who thinks he is a matinee idol, with his combination of arrogance and eloquence; serenity and disorder. Wertmüller's direction, from the perfumed vaudeville of Pasqualino's prime to the Grand Guignol of the concentration camps, is simply astonishing. Following at 9:45 PM is the Los Angeles Premiere of THE WORKER AND THE HAIRDRESSER IN A WHIRLWIND OF SEX AND POLITICS (METALMECCANICO E PARRUCCHIERA IN UN TURBINE DI SESSO E POLITICA) (1996, SACIS International, 105 min.). In Wertmüller's latest film, a hot-tempered Leftist mechanic and a saucy red-headed Right Wing hairdresser wage sexual and political warfare in a small Italian town. This brash, energetic farce stars Tullio Solenghi as the die hard Communist who completely loses his head and libido over Veronica Pivetti's sly hairdresser. (The casting of Pivetti is clearly an inside joke for Italians because Pivetti is the sister of a prominent Right wing politician).

Friday, November 21, 1997

The Friday, November 21st program begins at 7:15 PM with the Los Angeles Premiere of THE NYMPH (LA NINFA PLEBEA) (1996, Adriana Chiesa Films, 112 min.) with Stefana Sandrelli and Raoul Bova. The film is an earthy, unrepressed story of a young girl's sexual initiation set in an imaginary town in the south of Italy in 1943. Newcomer Lucia Cara stars as Miluzza, a beautiful combination of innocence and sensuality, who struggles to maintain her optimism in a town infested by misfortunes of virtue and the onslaught of World War II. Wertmüller's script is based on the Stega Prize winning 1993 novel by Neapolitan author, Domenic Rea. Music by Ennio Morricone (THE MISSION). Following at 9:45 PM is LET'S TALK ABOUT MEN (QUESTA VOLTA PARLIANO DI UOMINI) (1965, 91 min.), Wertmüller's second feature starring Nino Manfredi and Luciana Paluzzi. This ambitious four-part comedy anticipates the scathing humor of SWEPT AWAY and THE SEDUCTION OF MIMI. When a doctor is accidentally locked outside of his apartment, wearing nothing more than a towel, he fumbles through four separate households wrought with blackmail plots, aging knife throwers and vengeful murderous spouses. Plus, a special screening of Wertmüller's 1990 television movie SATURDAY, SUNDAY & MONDAY (SABATO, DOMENICA & LUNEDI) (1990, 119 min). The legendary Sophia Loren stars in this domestic comedy about a woman who fears she is losing her husband's affections and is determined to win them back. The film is based on a popular play from the 1950's originally written with Sophia Loren in mind for the lead role!

 

Saturday November 22, 1997

The Saturday, November 22nd program begins at 7:15 PM with a repeat screening of SWEPT AWAY BY AN UNUSUAL DESTINY IN THE BLUE SEA OF AUGUST (TRAVOLTI DA UN INSOLITO DESTINO NELL'AZZURRO MARE D'AGOSTO) (1974, 125 min). See Friday, November 14t 7:15 PM screening for details. Following at 9:45 PM, is a new 35mm, uncut European version of THE SEDUCTION OF MIMI (MIMI METALLURGICO FERITO NELL'ONORE) (1972, 121 min.) which stars Giancarlo Giannini as a hapless laborer who is booted out of his job when he votes for the wrong candidate in the local election. After leaving his sexually reticent wife and extended family to look for work in Turin, he falls madly in love with a beautiful young Communist played by Mariangela Melato (SWEPT AWAY). Transferred back to his hometown, Giannini begins a complicated and chaotic double life, quickly discovering that balancing love and politics, Mafia and the family is an impossible task. This edit of Wertmüller's breakthrough film restores over 30 minutes that was cut from the original US release.

Friday, November 28, 1997

The Friday, November 28th program begins at 7:15 PM with LOVE AND ANARCHY (FILM D'AMORE E D'ANARCHIA) (1973, 125 min.) in which Wertmüller and her co-stars from SWEPT AWAY, Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato reteam for a brilliant drama about a simple hearted assassin who comes to Rome to kill Mussolini, only to fall in love with a vulnerable young prostitute. Wertmüller turns Salome's whorehouse into a stunning metaphor for Italy in the late 1930s. It is a house riddled with compromise and intrigue, rouged and painted on the outside, but bleeding on the inside. Following at 9:30 PM is a double feature which begins with THE END OF

THE WORLD IN OUR USUAL BED IN A NIGHT FULL OF RAIN (LA FINE DEL MONDO NEL NOSTRO SOLITO LETTO IN UNA NOTTE PIENA DI POGGIA) (1978, Warner Bros., 104 min.) Wertmüller's first English language feature. Shot in the United States, the film stars Giancarlo Giannini as a Communist journalist in the throes of a turbulent marriage to an outspoken American feminist played by Candice Bergen (in a wonderful underrated performance). Next, on the same bill, is SUMMER NIGHT WITH GREEK PROFILE, ALMOND EYES AND SCENT OF BASIL (NOTTE D'ESTATE CON PROFILO GRECO E ODORE DI BASILICO) (1987, New Line Cinema, 97 min.). More than a decade after SWEPT AWAY, Wertmüller reteamed with Mariangela Melato for this colorful satire of a cocky and high spirited millionairess who grows tired of Italy's rash of kidnappings and decides to abduct the top kidnapper herself. In classic Wertmüller fashion, the director twists and turns each nuance and insult into ironic wit while making a commentary on the social, political and sexual state of Italy. The film, however, belongs to Melato who ever-so-easily slips back into her glamorous SWEPT AWAY form.

Saturday November 29, 1997

The Saturday, November 29th program begins at 7:15 PM with ALL SCREWED UP (TUTTO A POSTO E NIENTE IN ORDINE) (1974, 110 min.), the least seen of Wertmüller's great films from the 1970's (she directed it between LOVE AND ANARCHY and SWEPT AWAY). Luigi Diberti and Lino Polito star in this rueful, often caustic portrait of a group of young Sicilians struggling desperately to get by in present day Milan. Following at 9:30 PM is CIAO, PROFESSORE! (IO SPERIAMO CHE ME LA CAVO) (1993, Miramax, 91 min.), Wertmüller's biggest hit since the late 70's. Starring Paolo Villagio and Isa Danieli, the film is a bittersweet morsel about a middle-aged teacher accidentally transferred to the worst school in Naples where most of the 8 and 9 year olds are out working as bartenders or trading on the black market. Wertmüller based her script on a best selling collection of anecdotes and stories by Neapolitan children and the result is a lovely, sentimental, but honest comedy reminiscent of TO SIR WITH LOVE. Plus, a special screening of the 1987 television movie, THE TENTH SECRET (IL DECIMO CLANDESTINO). One of Wertmüller's personal favorites, the film tells the story of a poor peasant woman (played by Piera Degli Esposti) who is forced to carry on an elaborate masquerade to hide her nine children from her wealthy landlord. Wertmüller said of the experience, "The real stars of the film are the children. I selected nine out of some 1,500 school children from the ages of 2 to 10. It was exhausting, but wonderful to work with them…"

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you. Please note that this press release lists two titles (SATURDAY, SUNDAY & MONDAY and THE TENTH SECRET) that have been added to the program since the film calendar was printed.ease note that The American Cinematheque has a new ticket agency. Effective immediately, tickets to our programs can be purchased from SHOWTIXX (818) 789-TIXX (8499). Our number (213) 466-FILM should be listed for further information only!

BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS AND PRESS KITS

AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

 

PRESS PASSES ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE AVAILABLE DURING THE FESTIVAL AS MOST SCREENINGS WILL BE SOLD OUT. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.

 

MANY OF THE TITLES SCREENING IN THIS RETROSPECTIVE ARE AVAILABLE AT JERRY’S VIDEO IN LOS FELIZ AND/OR AT ROCKET VIDEO ON LA BREA. YOU CAN MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO COME IN TO OUR OFFICES TO VIEW TAPES. PLEASE CALL MARGOT AT 213.466.3456, ext. 115. NO THEATRICAL PRESS SCREENINGS ARE PLANNED AT THIS TIME, PLEASE CALL IF YOU WANT TO BE NOTIFIED OF SCREENING TIMES AND DATES.

Established in 1984, the American Cinematheque, is a non-profit, viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all its forms. The Cinematheque presents weekly film and video programming which ranges from the classics and world cinemas to the outer frontiers of the art form at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater and other Los Angeles venues. Exhibition of rare works, special prints within our series, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences.

The American Cinematheque is currently renovating the historic Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, which, when open in 1998, will become the American Cinematheque's permanent home and offer daily, year-round programming.

For information about this film program call 213/466-FILM. THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. # # #