- Lina Wertmüller opens Seven Beauties with World War II and Hitler documentary footage. She is interested in creating a wildly engaging tale (the imagination behind the original screenplay is hers as well) of humanity’s ugliness.
- Lina Wertmüller is famously the first female director to be nominated for an Academy Award (the film was nominated for foreign language film, her writing, and Giancarlo Giannini for best actor was as well).
- Giannini plays Pasqualino Frafuso and the story oscillates between a flashback to Pasqualino’s days in Italy, and his trials and tribulations after as a prisoner, in an insane asylum, in the war, in a concentration camp… there are laughs throughout as well- so this is a delicate balance of shifting tones.
- Wertmüller has crafted a beautiful film. Cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli (working in 1975 on Salo as well with Pasolini) and Wertmüller make bold choices with lighting colors. There is a red spotlight used for some close-ups on Giannini. Giannini’s Pasqualino is a sharp dresser in that khaki suit. Wertmüller would later use these gorgeous splashes of green lighting as Pasqualino tries to seduce the guard at the concentration camp.
- Very close-up heavy in the shot choice design
- Pasqualino has a great little showdown with one of his sister’s (the seven beauties, which is ironic because they are all ugly) lovers with ceiling fans in the mise-en-scene.
- Fernando Rey in a small role at the camp – but perfect casting as the cynic.
- The mixture of grotesque, the bold imagery (rape, an insane asylum,) and the shifting tones is Fellini. “A rotten comedy, a lousy face…. called living”
- Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries is used to show the Germans- this is four years before Apocalypse Now.
- A long hold on a closeup of Pasqualino to end—finishes with a freeze frame.
- Recommend/ Highly Recommend border
What is the better Giancarlo Giannini performance? Seven Beauties here or L’Innocente a year later. Are these his career best work? How many achievable films does he have?
@Malith- Seven Beauties- but it is close, he is good in both and this is the best little stretch in his career. I only have maybe 5 or 6 archiveable films. The Pizza Triangle, Casino Royale…. probably missing a couple
@Drake-I was wondering do you think Visconti died too early? Not in terms of the number of his age but he was churning out remarkable film after remarkable film until the very end.
So he died in 1976. And in the last 8 years of his career he made 5 films
Death in Venice(1971)-HR/MS
This is crazy. Haha.
@Malith- For sure – had more years than many- but still
@Drake-Can you imagine Giannini in the role of Tomas Milian in Antonioni’s Identification of a Woman(1982)?