Love & Anarchy (newly restored!)

Set in a masterfully art-directed, palazzo-style Roman brothel, Italian auteur Lina Wertmüller’s seventh feature begins railing off raunchy dialogue at the pace of a Robert Altman film, yet finds itself, finally, in the same thematic waters as weighty wartime meditations like All Quiet on the Western Front or The Battle of Algiers. Throw in some torchy Italian folk interludes and you’ve got Love & Anarchy, which blends a fish-out-of-water tale of sex and romance in the big city with a serious examination of the ways in which individual humanity becomes submerged by political imperative. Wertmüller regulars Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato, appearing as a farmer and prostitute conspiring to assassinate Benito Mussolini, once again display an uncanny talent for pulling from a grab bag of moods and affectations—from the brash pitch work of the bordello foyer to the righteous conviction of the politically persecuted. It’s fast-firing, hilarious stuff, and when the narrative pitch turns anxious and eventually abject in the film’s final act, the full weight of this radical undertaking will hit you like a ton of bricks.

Dir. Lina Wertmüller, 1973, DCP, 124 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!