Lina Wertmüller's most complex film is also one of her funniest and most touching. While it's a Holocaust film at heart, Seven Beauties sprawls across a decade or so in the history of Italy. The hero -- if you can call him that -- is Pasqualino Frafuso (Giancarlo Giannini), the sole boy in a family of eight kids, a fact that has clearly caused him some stress as a youth.
Pasqualino ends up killing one of his sisters' (the beauties) boyfriends, winds up in prison, transfers to the loony bin, and finally escapes by agreeing to enlist in Mussolini's rising Italian army. He's shipped off the the front and quickly captured by the Germans (yeah, they're allies, don't ask) and sentenced to a concentration camp. And yet Pasqualino survives it all, never really succumbing to the horrors that surround him at every turn. Most of the film plays out during his time in the camp, with flashbacks telling us how he got to where he is now. The effect is something like Slaughterhouse-Five.
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