Lina Wertmüller, Italy 1972 R18 .
The film that launched the Wertmüller vogue in the US remains a hilarious satire, as a married man with communist ideals finds his commitment tested when he returns to town with his mistress. When Mimi (Giancarlo Giannini) is fired after voting against the Mafia candidate in a local election, he leaves his wife (Agostina Belli) and quits Sicily to seek work in Turin. There he falls in love with a sexually liberated anarchist (Mariangela Melato). When the couple move back to Turin, a revelation about his wife leads to a series of crazed events, and Mimi’s political ideals begin to ebb away. Lena Wertmüller’s bawdy satire boasts hilarious set pieces, and Giannini’s gift for larger-than-life comedy is exploited to its hilt. It’s the film that most evokes her love of commedia dell'arte tradition. Two scenes – one of domestic violence, one of a seduction attempt of a plus-size woman played by Wertmüller regular Elena Fiore – throw political correctness out the window, but Wertmüller’s critique of inadequate men is as sharp as ever.