Behind the White Glasses, narrates the life and career of a maestro of the Italian cinema, Lina Wertmüller. It is not only a tribute, but also a tale of a passionate, ever evolving personality that is lively, active and always producing creative ideas. It is a journey through the memories of the director as well as the testimonies of friends, actors, colleagues, and artists whose lives and careers have crossed paths with Wertmüller.
Behind the white glasses has a musical structure. Songs taken from the vast repertoire written by the director punctuate the narrative; with Nino Rota’s music, the unforgettable success she composed for the TV show, Studio Uno, those written for her movies to accompany the characters she created, and the many others she wrote for theater. The director, revealing to us an astonishing aspect of her creative talent, interprets some of the songs. The seven songs chosen for Behind the white glasses become a character on their own. They have the power to depict with the overwhelming force of the musical, the life and the artistic universe of Lina Wertmüller.
The narration is marked by a journey through different locations that have a particular significance in the director’s life. Her house in Rome, located in the Piazza del Popolo, where Lina Wertmuller lives and works in the little studio which seems to fly across the roofs in the heart of Rome; Minervino Murge, on the border between Puglia and Basilicata, set of her first film, The Lizards; the studio of Lina’ʹs husband, Enrico Job, the great art director and costume designer of her movies and theatre productions; the Palazzina di Villeggiatura, the “ʺsmall vacation home”ʺ, in the Brescia province which is an old country house belonging to the family of her husband, and where they celebrate Christmas and visit with friends; and lastly, the beach in Sardegna seen in the film, Swept Away.
To enrich the itinerary, there are testimonies of many people Lina knows closely in her private life. These interviews magnify the aspects of her sparkling and over-‐‑the-‐‑top personality and provide a way to get to know her artistic universe. Furthermore, Wertmüller’s unreleased, private archival footage, that she shot while working as Fellini’s assistant on the set of 8 and 1⁄2 (1963), offers an insightul look at their collaboration.
The documentary retraces the key moments of the director’s cinematic and theatrical career, as well as her experience in opera. It underlines how Lina Wertmüller has worked in different sectors of show business, breaking all traditional rules and bringing whirlwind of innovations in writing and interpreting scripts while always remaining faithful to her ironic and grotesque inspirations.
Lina Wertmüller is the first woman in film history to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director in 1978, for her masterpiece Seven beauties.