Piloting wealthy, entitled Raffaella (Melato) around the islands of the Mediterranean, Sicilian cabin boy Gennarino (Giannini) is appalled by the gorgeous heiress's haughty airs, brusque treatment of the crew, and unapologetically capitalist political opinions; she quickly picks up on the tension and cruelly aggravates it. But when the two class enemies wind up marooned together on a desert island, the tables turn, and their conflict becomes inflamed with passion.
Okay, let's get one thing straight: the 2002 remake of this magnificent film, starring Madonna, was awful. But put that shipwreck out of mind: Wertmüller's provocative original is smarter, more compelling, and ultimately quite devastating, thanks to a force-of-nature performance by the hirsute Giannini, playing a boorish sailor, and Melato's own sexy, brilliant turn as queen bitch of the Mediterranean. As always, Wertmüller explores class politics through a flagrantly funny, sometimes brutal story of desire and submission, with a lost-in-paradise scenario that gets downright prehistoric when Gennarino gains the upper hand. You'll be "Swept Away" by this rousing drama, shot on location on the sunny blue waters of a Mediterranean isle.