I had my first Cinefamily experience last week. I had the pleasurable chance seeing my first Lina Wertmüller film, LOVE & ANARCHY and it was unique sitting among other cinephiles. It’s one of the great experiences of sitting among an audience listening to them laugh collectively at such gut wrenching hilarity whether it be a facial expression, gesture, or some clever line of dialogue was total bliss and one of my favorite parts of going to the movies is seeing the reaction of audiences. This is usually the prime reason I sit in the back row of theaters, taking in the scene. Laughter rocked the night.
Sometimes I wonder if society has forgotten the power behind how relieving laughter can be for one’s soul. We live in such a dire, political correct era you have to wonder where the hell did everyone’s sense of humor go? These days anyone is offended by the most minute thing and I personally can’t help but laugh at the humor behind such an offense. Listen people we’re all fallible human beings, it’s not the end of the world if someone does or says something that’s often misconstrued. Whether you take it as a joke or not, dust off whatever it was offended you and move on or JUST ignore it. I know easier said than done. Okay enough of that, let me step off my soapbox and move forward.
LOVE & ANARCHY (1973) is a combination of two perfectly imperfect constructs juxtaposed together telling the story of a young revolutionary “Tunin” (Giancarlo Giannini) meets a strong-willed prostitute “Salome” (Mariangela Melato) in a brothel and the two conspire together a mission to assassinate Mussolini. It’s an exciting plot and how Wertmüller extends the precious moments of Tunin and Tripolina’s love and time together. She really lingers on this portion of the narrative for interesting reasons, aside from the inevitable death that lingers in the shadows. There’s life, there’s humor, there’s sex, and there’s shouting. For instance, Salome keeps Tunin safe having him pose as her cousin and in a way condemns the girls from keeping their hands of him. However, Tunin falls for Tripolina, one of the prostitutes which complicates things, distracting him from falling through on his plot to kill. In a very empathetic scene one of the girls is singing a very compelling song and the usage of facial expressions exchanged between Triolina and Tunin steals the scene. It’s amazing what eyes can communicate as there’s this hilarious tango between seduction and uncertainty between the pair’s facial expressions. Dialogue is unnecessary here. There is power in the eyes.
Tunin enjoys his time with Tripolina, Wertmüller lingers on these moments as their spending a day together throughout Rome. It’s endearing, and somewhat romantic despite what’s to be their fate but also gives us a taste of an Italian romance.
There’s also an incredible color pallet, often times when I’m watching a film it’s one of the first things I look for. I had a conversation with a friend one time about how we see color and often times it’s the first things we use to describe something. We see in color, we describe in color, and there is power behind color. Sounds crazy? But makes odd sense.
I read somewhere that Lina Wertmuller worked as an assistant director for Federico Fellini on 8 ½ and what’s beautiful and strange about her sense of style is how it standouts. It confronts darkish themes head on with satire, and exploitation utilizing the balance of comedy and drama. It works because life isn’t all rainbows and smiles there’s always a dark side which I absolutely love. (I have this thing about balance.) Her style maybe contrived as absurd but she paints a breathtaking view of humanity’s distinguished flaws.
There are these interesting moments throughout the film where we see all the prostitutes having lunch together and it is so vibrantly energetic with color and the fast talking dialogue. It’s harmonious in many ways but also left me with a brief headache trying to keep up with all zaniness occurring. But I absolutely adore these particular shots where we have groups of people whether it be when the brothel opens up shop and the women are all tramping about revealing what they have to offer to the variety of men that gaze upon them.
Lina Wertmüller has a peculiar yet spot on sense of pain and humor which is something I personally relate to and am over the moon I just now discovered her existence. LOVE & ANARCHY has a ton of energy that electrifies the screen with a brooding soul full of love, frustration, and a willful determination to achieve glory.