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Ferdinando and Carolina

(Ferdinando e Carolina)
Italy 1999. Dir: Lina Wertmüller. 108 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION! Sex, politics, and 18th-century Italian history commingle in writer-director Lina Wertmüller’s lavish (and lecherous) late-career costume comedy. Told in flashbacks from the deathbed of the flatulent King Ferdinando of Naples, the film tracks the King’s escapades as a young, pampered, coitus-crazed brat (Sergio Assisi), forced to marry the fiery, 16-year-old Archduchess of Austria (Gabriella Pession) after her two older sisters succumb to smallpox. To the royal newlyweds’ surprise, they share a common interest in between-the-sheets salaciousness! The film’s spectacular rendering of the era’s gilded décor and opulent couture is a bona fide showcase for production designer Enrico Job, Wertmüller’s husband and longtime creative collaborator. “One of Wertmüller’s handsomest productions” (Quad Cinema, New York).