An epic tragicomedy from director Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties), Love and Anarchy plumbs the depths of fascist Italy from the perspective of a simple farm boy who’s sent to kill Mussolini, but finds comrades in a group of prostitutes.
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Wertmuller's story of a peasant aiming to assassinate Mussolini in the 30's aided by a whore in Rome only to be overcome by love is well enacted by its actors. Giancarlo Giannini was awarded at Cannes that year for his portrayal and the work of Mariangela Melato is stellar. Memorably scored by Nino Rota and shot by Giuseppe Rotunno.
"if you commence, make sure work--do not trifle, for they will not trifle with you--they want us for their slaves, and think nothing of murdering us in order to subject us to that wretched condition--therefore, if there is an attempt made by us, kill or be killed." --
David Walker's Appeal
If a Ken Loach film and a Fellini film had some passionate, editing-room affair, this might be their fiery, vivacious, celluloid love child. Notable are the women - all powerful, each in their own way - and Wertmüller's radical sympathies, including a sex/sex-work positivity that no doubt challenged many of her contemporaries (feminist and otherwise!) Human & compelling (even if the brashness left me exhausted). 3.5
There's beautifully choreographed films, and then there's this one. The appositely paced montage sequences reveal Lina Wertmuller's intimate fascination for the female body. Stylized without being excessive and politicized without hitting you over the head with it.