Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Ferdinando and Carolina|
Actors: Sergio Assisi, Gabriella Pession, Nicole Grimaudo, Adriano Pantaleo, Lola Pagnani
Director: Lina Wertmüller
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
In the dazzling court of 18th century Bourbon Naples, against their wishes young King Ferdinando of Naples will wed Carolina, the sweet, 16 year-old daughter of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. As the monarchies of Europ... more »
Not the Best of Lina's Ouerve, But It Has its Moments
Doug - Haydn Fan | California | 05/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I rarely review films, generally they're over-reviewed. However, Wertmuller is not a minor director, and any film of hers should invite more interest. In this film, Sexual Politics continues as a bedrock theme of the director. Apparently she decided, so why not go all the way and tell a story about the struggles in royal bedrooms, and tell this historic story of silly Italian King Ferdinando of Naples who has his authority and power usurped by his wife?
The results are mixed indeed, with satire and farce blended with a nod to history. Atmosphere is supplied, but rarely does it come across with any real versmiltude; director Wertmuller's insistent focus on the immediacy of human behavior dominates even the most prepossessing sets - and there are certainly a few of those in this film.
The role of the arrogant spoiled young ruler comes off nicely enough - anyone looking for idealism has come to the wrong world in this kingdom. The film makes Marie Therese of Austria into a monstrous horror, destroying her daughters for her own political ends; so evil is she in her real politik that had impossibly spoiled and worthless Ferdinando not been so utterly characterized as human slime by the point in time of his forced marriage we might feel sympathy for him.
Although there are moments of genuine mirth and a full array of brilliantly depicted underlinings, ancillaries and followers, this is overall a very bleak movie, with social life presented as a series of careless escapades atop rarely scene horrible events, which emerge in brutal flashbacks, and are laughed off in Ferdinand's running gag of insisting on threatening everyone who upsets him with having their head cut off. It's always difficult to say just where Wertmuller stands in this depraved and hideous universe, as her invective is so readily engaged in every direction and with every possible character.
A memorable trip to the ruins of Pompeii, several superbly done hunting parties, and many fabulous palace sets, both in Naples and Vienna, bring to the film a certain majesty of place and timelessness. The huge deliberately unfilled royal interiors, along with certain touches - such as a monstrous globe immediately adjacent to the equally monstrous rotund Marie Therese - calls to mind the equally politically saturated work of Rossellini.
Dash and energy raises this film to three stars, but it's breeziness and plein air appeal are not enough to hold together this rather rambling storyline. Too, as the other reviewer mentions, just when things get going and Carolina grabs, literally, the whip hand, the movie abrutly ends. Deliberate or not, it makes for a disappointment.
Viewers should be aware there are innumberable profanitites throughout the film, along with plenty of nudity and sexual situations involving scenes of abuse - it is what it is. There are also murder and torture; this along with what appears 'real' dead animals used during the hunting scenes.
One last note: You should certainly not take the cover of this DVD as anything but totally misleading - there's nothing sentimental about this feature! This is not an 'engaging spoof of the 18th century'. This is brutal vicious satire ripping loose on a group of people who deserve it.