Italian social satirist Samperi dies

Director had hit in '70s with 'Malizia'

ROME — Italian director Salvatore Samperi whose mix of sex and social satire blasted Italy’s bourgeoisie and sometimes scored big locally, as with 1973’s smash erotic hit “Malizia” (Malicious), died Wednesday in Bracciano, near Rome. He was 64.

The cause of his death was not disclosed.

Born July 26, 1944, into a wealthy family in Padua, Samperi soon dropped out of the local university, where he was studying literature and philosophy, to make movies.

In 1968, at age 24, with financing from family and friends, he shot his first film “Grazie, Zia,” (Thank You, Aunt) which was selected that year for Cannes.

Toplining Lou Castel as a rich young rebel who pretends to be wheelchair-bound to play psychosexual games with his aunt, who is also his doctor, Samperi’s striking debut was soon followed by several other anti-establishment pics including “Cuore di Mamma” (Mother’s Heart), in which a divorcee with three kids turns into a terrorist.

In 1973 Samperi went more mainstream with “Malizia” starring Laura Antonelli as a comely maid who seduces a 14-year-old boy in order to marry his rich, widowed father.

“Malizia” created a local scandal and became an Italo pop culture sensation.

The prolific Samperi, who made more than 25 films, never came close to equaling “Malizia’s” success. A 1991 remake, also starring Antonelli, flopped.

However, he subsequently achieved commercial success with anti-war satire “Sturmtruppen” (Stormtroopers), a 1976 pic based on a popular cartoon about a Nazi military unit headed by a cocaine-crazed general. “Sturmtruppen II” followed in 1982.

In his later years Samperi worked mainly as a TV director. His lavish Sicily-set skein “L’onore e il rispetto” (Honor and Respect) scored stellar ratings in 2006 for Mediaset.

Samperi is survived by his wife and a son.

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