Lina Wertmüller (born 14 August 1928) is an Italian screenwriter and film director best known for her films The Seduction of Mimi, Swept Away, and Seven Beauties. She was the first woman nominated for an Academy Award for Directing for Seven Beauties.
Wertmüller was born Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller von Elgg Spañol von Braueich in Rome in 1928 to a devoutly Roman Catholic Swiss family of aristocratic descent. She was a rebellious child, and was expelled from more than a dozen Catholic schools. Though her father wanted her to become a lawyer she enrolled in theatre school.
After graduating from school, her first job was touring Europe in a puppet show. For the next ten years she worked as an actress, director and playwright in legitimate theatre. During this period she met Giancarlo Giannini, who later starred in many of her films.
Through her acquaintance with Marcello Mastroianni, she met Federico Fellini and, in 1962, Fellini offered her the assistant director position on 8½. The following year, Wertmüller made her directorial debut with The Lizards (I Basilischi). The film's subject matter—the lives of impoverished people in southern Italy—became a recurring motif in her later work...
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