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Swept Away

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Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Mediterranean, this luscious-looking, bittersweet satirical allegory is Lina Wertmüller’s most famous and controversial film, as well as her most overt styling of class warfare as a battle of the sexes.

“A feminist manifesto disguised as an extended male domination fantasy…Wertmüller delivered the first girl power picture, and it’s a stunning masterstroke of a movie.” — Bill Gibron, DVD Talk

For her kinky update of The Taming of the Shrew, Wertmüller places the action on an elegant yacht cruising off the coast of Sardinia. Raffaella (Mariangela Melato) is a snooty vacationing socialite who enjoys heaping abuse on Gennarino (Giancarlo Giannini), a working-class Communist sailor. But when the handsome ruffian and his imperious nemesis find themselves stranded on an uninhabited island, the tables are turned, and the helpless Raffaella must submit to the self-sufficient Gennarino in order to survive, leading to the ultimate statement on gender warfare. A bracing, sexy, riotous political fable that became one of the most argued-about films of the 1970s and opened Wertmüller to a barrage of criticism from feminists, Swept Away must be re-seen to be believed. (Dir. by Lina Wertmüller, 1974, Italy, In Italian with English subtitles, 116 mins., Not Rated)