Nominated for four Academy Awards® including first woman ever nominated for Best Director, Lina Wertmüller's Seven Beauties stars Giancarlo Giannini as Pasqualino Frafuso, known in Naples as "Pasqualino Settebellezze" (Pasqualino Seven Beauties). A petty thief who lives off of the profits of his seven sisters while claiming to protect their honor at any cost, Pasqualino is arrested for murder and later sent to fight in the army after committing sexual assault. The Germans capture him and he gets sent to a concentration camp where he plots to make his escape by seducing a German officer.
The picaresque story follows its protagonist, Pasqualino (Giannini), a dandy and small-time hood in Naples in Fascist and World War II Italy. To save the family honour, Pasqualino kills a pimp who had turned his sister into a prostitute. To dispose of the victim's body, he dismembers it and places the parts in suitcases. Caught by the police, he is convicted and sent to prison. Pasqualino succeeds in getting himself transferred to a psychiatric ward but, desperate to get out, he volunteers for the Italian Army, which is allied with the German army. With an Italian comrade, he eventually deserts the army, but they are captured and sent to a German concentration camp. In a bid to save his own life, Pasqualino decides to survive the camp by providing sexual favors to the obese and ugly female commandant (Stoler). His plan succeeds, but the commandant puts Pasqualino in charge of a barracks as a kapo. Here he must select six men to be killed to prevent all from being killed. Pasqualino ends up executing his former Army comrade, and he is responsible for the death of another fellow prisoner, a Spanish anarchist. At the war's end, upon his return to Naples, Pasqualino discovers that ironically his seven sisters, his fiancée, and even his mother have all survived by becoming prostitutes.
Director: Lina Wertmüller
Italy, 1975, 116 min
Film in Italian with English Subtitles
Embassy of Italy
3000 Whitehaven Street NW
Washington, DC 20008