Nanni Moretti takes a comic look at the ebbs and flows of his life as he becomes a father for the first time. He struggles with distractions while trying to make a documentary of the Italian national elections.
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Giovanni is a successful psychoanalyst who has to put up with the seemingly endless string of trivial details his patients ramble on about. Yet his family provides a loving and steadfast foundation for his life that can even survive a problem like their son, Andrea, being accused of stealing a rare fossil in school. That foundation is profoundly rocked when Andrea dies in a scuba diving accident. Although the usual arrangements run smoothly, the emotional harm is profound. Giovanni begins to obsessively dwell on the missed chances he had with his son that might have saved his life, even blaming his patients. In addition , his wife is inconsulable and his daughter is becoming anti social in their loss. In the midst of this turmoil, a secret of their son's life is revealed that provides healing in a way they never anticipated. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
It takes a certain amount of cheek to write, direct and star in your own films and Nanni Moretti's earlier work, 'Carao Diaro', was certainly eccentric, as he played himself as an annoying and socially limited loner. In 'The Son's Room', he proves he can act a role, in a more orthodox portrait of a family struggling to come to terms with the death of their son. The portrait of inter-generational relationships seems over-idealised (and how many teenagers are into Brian Eno?), but the real strength of this film is its sense of inicidentality. Instead of playing as straight melodrama, we see the family trying to continue with their lives, and in particular Moretti's character, a psychotherapist, interacting with his patients. The importance attached to the chance juxtaposition of events is reminiscent of Kieslowski, as is some of the dialogue: stylised but profound, even (or even because) its relationship to the main events is oblique: the whole carries meaning precisely because the individual parts are not overloaded, everything is potentially symbolic but nothing is forced. At the end of the day you believe in these characters; as a result, their tragedy rings with truth.
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