The Seduction of Mimi

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The Seduction of Mimi
Directed by Lina Wertmüller
Produced by Romano Cardarelli
Daniele Senatore
Written by Lina Wertmüller
Starring Giancarlo Giannini
Music by Piero Piccioni
Cinematography Dario Di Palma
Edited by Franco Fraticelli
Euro International Film
Distributed by New Line Cinema (US)
Release date
19 February 1972 (Italy)
Running time
121 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

Mimí metallurgico ferito nell'onore (1972) is an Italian language film directed by Lina Wertmüller, starring Giancarlo Giannini as Mimi and featuring Mariangela Melato, Turi Ferro, and Agostina Belli. It was released in the United States as The Seduction of Mimi, although a literal translation of the title would be "Mimi the metalworker, wounded in honor". The film was entered into the 1972 Cannes Film Festival.[1] The screenplay was very loosely adapted for the 1977 film Which Way Is Up? starring Richard Pryor.


Set in both Sicily and mainland Italy, the film follows the adventures of a man nicknamed Mimi (Giancarlo Giannini). Mimi is a poor labourer who is pressured by his employers to vote for the mafia candidate in a local election. Frustrated by the system and assured that the ballot will be secret Mimi votes for the communist representative instead. However he is fired and assured he will never work again as the ballot was not secret. Disgusted Mimi flees to Turin, while his wife, Rosalia, stays in Sicily.

In Turin Mimi finds illegal construction work. When he witnesses one of the labourers falling to his death he helps the man into a van thinking that he is being brought to the hospital. When he discovers that his mafia bosses actually plan on dumping the body he tells him that his wife is the goddaughter of Liggio, a powerful mafioso. As a result, he is given a good union job at a factory. He also becomes further embroiled with the communist party.

One day Mimi sees the beautiful Fiore on the street selling sweaters. When she and her friend are attacked he helps them and learns that she is a trotskyist. When they walk in the park he kisses her and then attempts to grope her. Fiore fends him off and says that she is a virgin and will not make love with a man until she falls in love. Mimi continues to see her until finally, heartbroken he tells her that he loves her but cannot bear to be around her as he feels she will never return his love. Fiore finally tells him she loves him back. Aware that Mimi is married, Fiore nevertheless takes him as a lover and finally becomes pregnant, giving birth to a son, Mimi.

At the christening for their child Mimi goes to get more champagne and happens upon a murder perpetrated by the mob. Though he is supposed to be shot Mimi nevertheless ends up with only a scratch and, when the police question him, refuses to divulge any answers. As a result, he is promoted at work to a management position in Sicily. Terrified that his wife will discover his second family, Mimi hides Fiore and their child and pretends to always be too exhausted for sex. This causes the people of the town to gossip and begin to believe that Mimi is a homosexual. He is finally taken out by a few of his friends who tell him that Rosalia is pregnant with the child of another man, Amilcare. Mimi is outraged and after attacking Rosalia he tells her about Fiore and his son. Rosalia then decides to keep her child and refuse to divorce Mimi gloating that her bastard child will bear his last name, while his son with Fiore will have a different name.

To avenge his honour, Mimi seduces Amalia, the wife of Amilcare. After sleeping with her he informs her that Amilcare had impregnated his wife, Rosalia. Initially horrified, Amalia decides that the best way for the two of them to get back at their cheating spouses is to conceive a child together, leading to monthly visits between the two.

When Amalia is several months pregnant Mimi confronts her husband on the town steps telling everyone that his wife is bearing Mimi's child. Enraged, Amilcare threatens to shoot Mimi, however Mimi, who had considered the possibility and warned Amalia to empty Amilcare's gun is unconcerned. However a man who works for the mob, who had been assigned to watch over Mimi, sees Amilcare reach for the gun and shoots him, then shoves the smoking gun in Mimi's hand. Mimi is thrown into jail for Amilcare's murder. While in jail he is visited by a man from the mob again who tells him that for taking the fall for the murder he is now a respected man and offering him a job when he comes out. Mimi refuses. However, when he is finally released Mimi is excited to see Fiore and little Mimi waiting for him. He is soon overwhelmed by his child with Amalia as well as with Amalia, and Rosalia's bastard son, all of whom clamour around him calling him Papa. In desperate need of money Mimi goes to work for the mob, propping up the election of Vico Tricarico.

Disgusted that he has abandoned his communist ideals Fiore leaves, taking young Mimi with her. Mimi chases after her, mourning his lost ideals.


Cast notes


Though filmed before Love and Anarchy, The Seduction of Mimi did not receive a U.S. release until June 1974, two months after the successful U.S. release of Love and Anarchy.


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Seduction of Mimi". Retrieved 2009-04-14. 

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