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Lina Wertmüller

Lina Wertmüller Italian film writer and director

Italian film writer and director
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Italian film writer and director
A.K.A. Arcangela Felice Assunta Job Wertmüller von Elgg Espanñol von Brauchich, Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller von Elgg Spanol Von Braueich, Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertm%04uller von Elgg Spanol von Braueich, Lina Wertmuller, Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller Von Elgg Spanol Braueich, Nathan Wich, Arcangela Felice Assunta Job Wertmüller von Egg Espa%09nol von Brauchich, Lina Job Wertmüller, Arcangela Felice Assunta Job Wertmüller von Elgg Español von Brauchich, Angela Wertmüller von Elg, George Brown, Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller von Elgg Spanol von Braueich
Is Screenwriter Film director
From Italy
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio
Gender female
Birth 14 August 1926, Rome
Age: 93 years
The details

Lina Wertmüller (Italian: [ˈliːna vertˈmuller]; born 14 August 1928) is an Italian screenwriter and film director. She was the first woman nominated for an Academy Award for Directing Seven Beauties. She is also known for her films The Seduction of Mimi, Love and Anarchy and Swept Away.


Wertmüller was born Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller von Elgg Spañol von Braueich in Rome in 1928 to a devoutly Roman Catholic Swiss family of aristocratic descent. She was a rebellious child, and was expelled from more than a dozen Catholic schools. Though her father wanted her to become a lawyer she enrolled in theatre school.

After graduating from school, her first job was touring Europe in a puppet show. For the next ten years she worked as an actress, director and playwright in legitimate theatre. During this period she met Giancarlo Giannini, who later starred in many of her films.

Through her acquaintance with Marcello Mastroianni, she met Federico Fellini and, in 1962, Fellini offered her the assistant director position on . The following year, Wertmüller made her directorial debut with The Lizards (I Basilischi). The film's subject matter—the lives of impoverished people in southern Italy—became a recurring motif in her later work.

Several moderately successful films followed, but not until 1972 did Wertmüller achieve lasting international acclaim with a series of four movies starring Giancarlo Giannini. The last, and best-received of these, was 1975's Seven Beauties (Pasqualino Sette Bellezze), which earned four Academy Award nominations and was an international hit. Wertmüller was the first woman nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director. Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, and Kathryn Bigelow are the only other female directors nominated (with Bigelow the first to win).

Her 1978 film, A Night Full of Rain, was entered into the 28th Berlin International Film Festival. Eight years later, her film Camorra (A Story of Streets, Women and Crime) was entered into the 36th Berlin International Film Festival.

In 1985, she received the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.

She is known for her whimsically prolix movie titles. For instance, the full title of Swept Away is Swept away by an unusual destiny in the blue sea of August. These titles were invariably shortened for international release. She is entered in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest film title: Un fatto di sangue nel comune di Siculiana fra due uomini per causa di una vedova. Si sospettano moventi politici. Amore-Morte-Shimmy. Lugano belle. Tarantelle. Tarallucci e vino. That 1979 movie with 179 characters is better known under the international titles Blood Feud or Revenge.

Her 1983 film A Joke of Destiny was entered into the 14th Moscow International Film Festival. Wertmüller has had a prolific career since, and still actively directs, none of her later films have had the same impact as her mid-1970s collaborations with Giannini. Wertmüller was married to Enrico Job (died 4 March 2008), an art designer who worked on several of her pictures.


Laraine Newman impersonated Wertmüller twice on Saturday Night Live.


In general, Wertmüller's films highly reflect her own political commitments, with main characters who are either dedicated anarchists, communists, feminists, or all those—and main action that centers on political or socioeconomic conflicts. Swept Away tells the story of a rich, liberated industrialist's wife who finds erotic fulfillment only after being sado-masochistically "tamed" by a macho, communist private yacht deck-hand. The film earned the ire of orthodox feminists, one of whom asked in a review whether Wertmüller had now become "one of the boys".


As writer and director
Year Title
1963 The Lizards
1965 Let's Talk About Men
1966 Rita the Mosquito
1967 Don't Sting the Mosquito
1968 The Belle Starr Story
1972 The Seduction of Mimi
1973 Love and Anarchy
1974 All Screwed Up
1974 Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August
1975 Seven Beauties
1978 A Night Full of Rain
1978 Blood Feud
1983 A Joke of Destiny
1984 Softly, Softly
1986 Camorra (A Story of Streets, Women and Crime)
1986 Summer Night, with Greek Profile, Almond Eyes and Scent of Basil
1989 As Long as It's Love
1989 The Tenth One in Hiding
1990 Saturday, Sunday and Monday
1992 Ciao, Professore!
1996 The Nymph
1996 The Blue Collar Worker and the Hairdresser in a Whirl of Sex and Politics
1999 Ferdinando and Carolina
2004 Too Much Romance... It's Time for Stuffed Peppers

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