Sunday, September 09, 2012

Lina Wertmüller: Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August

"And this is for not paying taxes and taking your money to Switzerland!"

A line that jumps right off the 1974 screen and into the 2012 US presidential election. 

And so it goes with much of Lina Wertmüller's Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d'agosto / Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August. 

Despite the fact that no person is killed for the duration, it's an edgy film, filled with Italian language obscenities characteristic of the tumultuous interaction between wealthy industrialist Raffaella Pavone Lanzetti (Mariangela Melato) and working class schlub Gennarino Carunchio (Giancarlo Giannini) -- especially after they're separated from the rest of the workers and passengers of the yacht they've been traveling on.

For comparison? Imagine a blend of Robinson Crusoe and Gilligan's Island, only it's two Italian people of different socio-economic classes and regions stranded on a wayward island. Far beyond Crusoe and Gilligan, though, imagine a tale of Marxian survival that inexorably stumbles into sometimes savage conflict-ridden sex.

"Every dog has his day, every servant his pay!"

In brief, Swept Away is a sharp and pithy comedy dealing with serious underlying issues.

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.

[Warning: This Swept Away mustn't be confused with the sad 2002 remake directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Madonna. God, no. Or as Gennarino cries in desperation in the original: "Madonna! Santa Rosalia!" Heaven forbid! Lina Wertmüller's original or bust!]         


the walking man said...

i just want the bastards swept away in a great blue sea in November.

Charles Gramlich said...

I guess I didn't pay much attention when I first saw a preview of this movie. I thought it was another blue lagoon.

Adorably Dead said...

Sounds like my kind of Gilligan's Island. ;)