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Although Il più bel giorno della mia vita is again a story from Italy about the breakdown of traditional family structure, the movie goes way beyond this theme. If you see this only as being on the first (kind of superior soap) level you will miss a lot. It is a movie that makes us viewers work hard. It is well constructed and uses three cinematic devices to get its message across.
First, there is heavy use of symbolism. The two most important are the dogs standing for loyalty and the cigarettes referring to desire and passion. When true love sets in the dog breaks something on the table. There's the whole stop-smoking club, the two members we know do not only stop quitting, they also have an affair. A boat figures as the obvious symbol. The church is used as a reference for traditional values, here mainly present in the art direction (e.g. church buildings and statues) but also in the young girl up for communion who is the center of the whole story. This movie is so dense that you have to watch it again to get every relation of the symbols in relation to the interaction of the characters.
Then there is the use of the 'fast character introduction'. The many characters are rapidly sketched in the beginning and all story lines are only touched upon, and because there are so many characters we need time and attention to connect the dots.
Once we are familiar with the characters and their connections and context, we jump two months ahead. So we do again have to pay attention to pick up on everything. There's other clever use of time (to show past and present in one scene by projecting images at the background, or by using fantasies of past and present).
There are roughly three parts: the setup of all relations, then the start of all love relations that change the landscape of the characters and it ends with the girl filming it all. That's the key here, because she's the only pure human in the movie. She's the only true religious also, so I find the main message a conservative and traditional one and I do not know if that's intended. (In the same way I do think of Apocalypse Now as a pro-war movie despite trying to be anti-war).
There's so much effort put into this, but in the end it did not work for me. In line with its main message it lacks emotion and sentiment and is very afraid to use them. That's congruent, but not very interesting basically. As viewers we are not transformed in the movie, although nearly all characters were. But movies are not dead things, they interact with the viewer and that process is what counts. Someone commenting here said this resembled La Famiglia from Scola. I think it's almost the opposite.
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