Wertmüller's grotesque masterpiece takes the Chaplinesque tendency in her work – the melding of the comic and tragic – to its furthest and most dangerous extreme. Giancarlo Giannini is unforgettable as the wily Sicilian anti-hero who manages to awaken our deepest sympathies, suspicions and eventually horror as he tries to charm his way out of a series of scandalous situations, culminating notoriously in a Nazi concentration camp. An international smash hit, Seven Beauties offers a bracing and unexpected reply to Adorno's questioning of the status of post-Auschwitz art and an important corrective to Life is Beautiful, Roberto Benigni's ridiculously overrated and Oscar-nominated sugarcoating of the Holocaust.
In response to Ettore Scola's Let's Talk About Women (1964), which is made up of nine comic sketches starring Vittorio Gassman, Wertmüller presents this collection of four black comedies starring Nino Manfredi. Although Wertmüller's first sketch shows a clever woman getting the better of her spouse, the fate of the women in the subsequent parts gets increasingly dire. (Wertmüller's second sketch seems to be a savage satire of La Strada.) Wertmüller has referred to Let's Talk About Men as her only truly feminist film; it is also the one of her films that reveals most clearly her debt to, and her difference from, the classic Italian comedies of the 1960s.