Seven Beauties

Director: Lina Wertmüller

Giancarlo Giannini is sensational in Lina Wertmüller’s internationally acclaimed and controversial concentration camp comedy/drama that was nominated for four Academy Awards (including most impressively the first Best Director nomination for a woman). Giannini plays Pasqualino Frafusco, a self-described unattractive man who’s had legendary luck bedding women. After murdering his sister’s hoodlum boyfriend, he’s deemed legally insane and the film follows our misguided antihero on his path in World War II, leading him to imprisonment in a sadistic concentration camp where he decides to put his skills as seducer to use by zeroing in on the grotesquely obese female commandant. The seduction, like much of the film, is all carried out in typical Wertmüller fashion, using shocking humor, outlandish behavior and carnivalesque direction to illustrate her political messages by depicting the decline in humanity and human decency. The film is brutal but cinematically one of her most impressive as she was in complete control and Seven Beauties still holds up well today. The score, like Giannini’s startlingly charismatic performance illustrating the lengths a person will go to just to live, will haunt you long after the closing credits.