Swept Away…By An Unusual Destiny In The Blue Sea Of August – Lina Wertmüller

Image Credits: Medusa Film

“This is a desert island and wild.”

“How is it possible? We’re not in the South Pacific, we are right in the Mediterranean!”

Swept Away…by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August (Travolti da un Insolito Destino nell’Azzurro Mare d’Agosto) is a movie destined to become a cult in the history of international moviemaking.

The movie was written and directed by art-house director Lina Wertmüller in 1974 and it represents the social discrepancies of 1970s Italy. The director is not afraid to explore racism, inequalities between Northern and Southern Italy, feminism and politics; this is when the contradictions of each political party emerge. It can be considered a time capsule of Italy in the ’70s, when there was a kind of political schism between the conservative and the leftist wings of government.

The film offers a glimpse into love relationships, human nature and society, and it does so in a tragicomic way. There is a clash of capitalist beliefs and communist convictions and, from a certain time onwards, even a reversal of social roles.

The critical response has been overall positive, with American film critic Roger Ebert writing for the Chicago Sun-Times that the film “resists the director’s most determined attempts to make it a fable about the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and persists in being about a man and a woman. On that level, it’s a great success.” It received an R rating and has a 65% positive rating from top film critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Swept Away won Best Music at David di Donatello Awards, Best Film and Best Actress at Tehran International Film Festival.

Image Credits: Medusa Film

It stars Italian actors Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato; the latter plays a rich and spoiled woman from Milan’s high society, who is vacationing along with her husband and their friends on a yacht in Sardinia. She frequently despises and humiliates the cabin boys, especially Gennarino, played by Giannini (in a memorable scene, she complains about spaghetti being not enough “al dente”), and constantly puts down the servant class. She doesn’t foresee that she will be stuck with him on a desert island when they get lost at sea on a dinghy with broken engine while on excursion.