Behind the White Glasses

112 minutes 2015

Dismayingly shallow, this 2015 documentary about Italian writer-director Lina Wertmüller fails to address what makes her work so controversial—or, for that matter, virtually anything beyond why her friends and collaborators like her. Director Valerio Ruiz, a former assistant to Wertmüller, trots out a series of talking heads to recount stories about the production of her most famous films (Love and Anarchy, Seven Beauties, Swept Away) and how they were received upon release. Little is divulged about what inspired Wertmüller's anarchist themes or whether her own sexual politics differed from the outrageous notions in her movies. (No one interviewed even acknowledges that viewers can be turned off by Wertmüller's rape fantasies and female stereotypes.) At least the subjects are engaging; Wertmüller, appearing here in her 80s, is lucid and wry in discussing her creative process. In English and subtitled Italian.

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