The phenomenal success of film director Lina Wertmüller in the 1970s has made her an icon of Italian cinema. Yet surprisingly and inexplicably, over the years there has been no full length in-depth critical study of the four films that made her reputation not only in Italy and the United States, but internationally as well. The Seduction of Mimi, Love and Anarchy, Swept Away and Seven Beauties represent the apex of Wertmüller’s art.
Grace Russo Bullaro’s book, Man in Disorder, the Cinema of Lina Wertmüller in the 1970s, perceptively examines these four films in the cultural context of the place and time where she had her greatest success: United States in the 1970s. This is a book that is therefore long overdue and has been eagerly awaited by the many fans and critics of Wertmüller’s work who remember the excitement and controversies that the zany and passionate director’s political comedies created in the 1970s. This dynamic film director is still as controversial and prolific as ever in many countries, directing and producing works as disparate as opera, ballet and Shakespearean plays as well as her trademark comedies of social commentary. In Italy she is a beloved ubiquitous presence in film and television and on stage. What’s more, in the United States, many people who fondly remember her dark comedies still ask: Whatever happened to Lina Wertmüller? This book will answer that question and many more.