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Behind the White Glasses

Muenzinger Auditorium

Behind the White Glasses

The first and last images of Behind the White Glasses are of now 88-year-old director Lina Wertmuller typing furiously on her keyboard, epitomizing her five-decades long career of frantic and garish but intelligent and humane movies, with many unfilmed scripts cluttering up shelves in her office.

Documentary director Valerio Ruiz has made an admiring portrait of an artist whose often impressive work is an outgrowth of her gregarious personality, something which has shown itself throughout her 30-odd films, stuffed to the gills with so much vitality, aliveness and richly rendered real life that some label them too cartoonish or gaudy. Admittedly, that’s been both her great strength and weakness. ...Many talking heads enthusiastically and emphatically talk about Wertmuller, from her greatest collaborator, actor Giancarlo Giannini; her nephew, actor Massimo Wertmuller; and even a still-glamorous Sophia Loren, to her biggest American fans: director Martin Scorsese, actor Harvey Keitel (who made a film with her in Sicily) and critic John Simon, who famously raved about Seven Beauties, one of the rare movies to live up to his exacting standards.

But mainly Ruiz smartly concentrates on Lina herself, who engagingly reminisces about a career that began as Fellini’s assistant on 8-1/2, her brief adventures in America after becoming famous and how her life was shattered by the death of her beloved husband (and set designer for her films) Enrico Job, by all accounts a perfectly lovely man and extraordinary artist. When Wertmuller wordlessly walks through rooms in their vacation house filled with mementos of Job’s brilliant career, it’s an overwhelmingly emotional scene worthy of one of her films.

-Kevin Filipski, The Flip Side

Behind the White Glasses

Tue October 10, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium

Italy, in Italian and English with English subtitles as needed, Color, 112 min, 2.35 : 1 • official site

Director: Valerio Ruiz, Screenplay: Valerio Ruiz, Cast: Lina Wertmüller, Martin Scorsese, Sophia Loren, Harvey Keitel, Rutger Hauer

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Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $50 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (an $80 value).