“We need an Oscarine,” she says. We must change its name to this statuette. Let’s give it the name of a woman. ” Behind her white glasses, Lina Wertmüller watches her honorary Oscar. She received it in 2019. Forty-two years earlier, she became the first woman to be nominated as Best Director by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It paved the way for the appointments of Jane Campion in the 1990s, then Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow and Greta Gerwig. The Italian filmmaker died on the night of Wednesday to Thursday in Rome. She was 93 years old. The funeral is scheduled for this Saturday morning in the Roman artists’ church.
Unforgettable, immense: the world of cinema and transalpine society have not found enough superlatives to describe the artist. “She understood the psychology of actors and actresses,” recalls Giancarlo Gianni, her favorite actor, in the columns of the Corriere della Sera. She was getting the best of us. We had a lot of fun ”even though she was“ very sure of herself, often aggressive ”. The actor is the protagonist of Pasqualino, released in cinemas in 1975 and which earned him the nomination for best actor. The film also competes in the categories of best director, best foreign language film and best original screenplay.
Assistant to Maestro Fellini
A member of the Italian Socialist Party, the filmmaker has never hidden her political ideas and fought for the rights of women in the world of cinema. “I have always had a strong character, since childhood, she readily admits, remembers the Ansa press agency. I was even kicked out of 11 schools and on the set, it was I who always ordered. ” Of Swiss and Austrian origins, Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller von Elgg Spanol von Braueich, by his full name, was born in the Italian capital on August 14, 1928. She enrolled at the age of 17 at the Theater Academy in Rome before starting to work as a director of puppet shows. She entered the world of cinema at the age of 35 after a theatrical and television career.
The impossible legacy of the maestro
She started out as a directing aid for Federico Fellini on the film Eight and a half, in 1963, and made his first film the same year, I basilischi. The work is awarded at the Locarno Festival. His first success dates from 1972: Mimi metallo wounded in his honor stars for the first time his favorite actor, Giancarlo Giannini, and will be presented at Cannes. “It marked Italian cinema of the 1970s in an absolutely personal way, then emphasized historical and political themes the following decade,” comments Ansa. Each time, it puts the public and the critics in agreement. ” The director has to her credit, in some six decades of film career, nearly 25 films, or as she likes to call them, as many “children”.
Great intelligence and deep irony
The woman with the white glasses, distinctive sign chosen as the title of a documentary dedicated to her in 2015, enjoys “a great intelligence and a deep irony”, writes Thursday La Repubblica. Lina Wertmüller will go down in history, according to the American Academy of Cinema, “thanks to her provocative courage having pushed her to dismantle political and social rules through her favorite weapon: the camera”.
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Death of Lina Wertmüller, first woman nominated at the Oscars