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A rich woman, Raffaella, and some friends rent a yacht to sail the Mediterranean Sea during summer. The sailor, Gennarino, who is a communist, does not like this woman but has to bear with her bad mood. One day she wakes up late in the afternoon and asks to be taken to land where everyone had gone earlier. Gennarino sets up a boat but during the trip, the boat breaks down. They spend the night in the middle of the sea.Written by
Michel Rudoy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Back in the 1970's Lina Wertmuller was an art-house superstar. But more importantly, she was a first class original, bursting with a fresh, exciting vision.
Now, here's a lively storyline: a rich, racist, reactionary female- a right wing, fascist mind in a knuckle-biting, voluptuous body -is stranded on a mid-sea desert isle with a poverty-stricken, chauvinistic, Communist male- a left-leaning propagandist in a scrawny masculine body. "Make nice" they don't. Well, not right off the bat. Not before much nasty invective and grievous bodily assault take place. But then afterward....ahh, afterward.
SWEPT AWAY, though a foreign film, is in the manic, irreverent, well-timed tradition of Hollywood screwball comedies like THE AWFUL TRUTH(1937), MIDNIGHT(1939), THE LADY EVE(1941), and most emphatically, HIS GIRL FRIDAY(1940)- only with a shipload more profane repartee, orgiastic lust, and bone-crunching physicality than was ever permissible or desirable in those older classics. Throwing all vestiges of caution to the four winds, Wertmuller really surprises the viewer with her take on the battle of the genders strained through a volcanic political dialectic.
Upon its initial release many in the audience demurred strongly (and still do) as the male's dominance slipped into outright brutality. Certainly, Wertmuller can be accused of going too far, but never of boring us. Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangelo Melato are absolutely letter perfect: sulking, teasing, attacking, retreating, seducing, rampaging, abandoning. Their director spurs them through an emotional and physical gauntlet and they meet each dramatic challenge with winning artistry. You may feel wrung out by film's end. Or enraged. Or both. But you'll have quite a time.
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