|The Sonís Room||
Winner: Palme d'Or, Cannes 2001
La Stanza del Figlio|
dir Nanni Moretti
scr Linda Ferri, Nanni Moretti, Heidrun Schleef
with Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante, Jasmine Trinca, Giuseppe Sanfelice, Silvio Orlando, Claudia Della Seta, Stefano Accorsi, Sofia Vigliar, Luisa De Santis, Alessandro Infusini, Renato Nobile, Paolo De Vita
release US 1.Feb.02; UK 15.Feb.02
Turning his trademark humour to a very serious subject, Italian filmmaker Moretti has created something extraordinary here: a comedy dealing with a deeply personal loss. He stars as Giovanni, a psychologist who has a happy family life with his wife Paola (Morante), and their two late-teen kids: son Andrea (Sanfelice) and daughter Irene (Trinca). When Andrea dies in an accident, the entire family is sent spinning, lost in their grief and anger, trying to find a way to put things back together again.
The reason this works at all is because Moretti captures such tiny details of life in every scene. This keeps the humour natural and authentic, never pushy or remotely contrived. We feel their grief and horror at the events that change them forever, but we also feel the breath of fresh air when they discover they're able to laugh again at something trivial. Again, this would never work if the script and performances didn't establish the characters and relationships so well at the film's outset--it's completely believable from the first moment. These are people we know--they're us!--and so we quite easily travel this journey with them and profoundly feel what they feel. And the light tone helps Moretti deal with some very heavy stuff without ever getting maudlin or sentimental.
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