Love and Anarchy

Love and Anarchy ★★★★★

The farcical tragedy of an amateur anarchist in love.

Both Tunin's greatest strength and his fatal flaw are loving too much: his romantic entanglement with Tripolina thwarts his plan to kill Mussolini, but it's also how he gets into this whole mess to begin with. Pautasso was his best friend, and perhaps their relationship wasn't romantic or sexual in the way that his relationship with Tripolina was, but when he finds Pautasso dead he's moved to take up his cause. Love is both his creation and his destruction.

The film frames Tunin as politically curious from an early age: one of the very first shots is of the comically over-freckled baby boy asking his mother what an anarchist is, and whether this is a genuine memory or Tunin's own retroactive fantasmatic framing of himself, it tells us what we need to know about his character. He is still this same child, slightly bumbling and artless in his approach, but earnest and deliberate and selfless.

The clearest comparison the film provides for him is with Spatoletti, the head of Mussolini's security. Spatoletti is brash and loud and egotistical in all the ways that Tunin is meek and quiet and generous. One of Tunin's only outbursts comes when Spatoletti has been drunkenly objectifying their female friends all night; his most vehement objection is that Spatoletti does not treat them like the human beings they are.

And, of course, it's telling that both Salomé and Tripolina make love to Tunin for free, for fun, while they charge Spatoletti Sunday rates in spite of their supposed love affair. Anarchists may be gentle little softies, but they know love, both for better and for worse.

Lina Wertmüller | Directed by Women | Italy
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