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Pietro is a successful businessman with a wife and a daughter. One day he helps his brother save two women from drowning at the beach. When he returns home he finds that his wife has died. Now Pietro has to take care of his daughter, Claudia. When he drives her to school soon after, he decides to wait for her all day in front of the school, and soon that's what he does every day. He eats at the nearby café, gets to know the people who come by and follows from afar the fusion developments at work. Pietro's brother expects him to snap out of it, but who will snap first? Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
Two middle-aged brothers - Pietro (Nanni Moretti) and Carlo (Alessandro Gassman) - play ball on the beach when suddenly two women yell for help while in the ocean. The brothers risk their lives to save the two women, only to find that the women don't even thank them. When the Paladini brothers drive back to Pietro's home, they discover that in their absence Pietro's wife has fallen and died. Pietro's 10-year-old daughter Claudia (Blu Yoshimi) is distraught and asks her father why he was not at home to save his wife. After a quiet funeral Pietro enters an existence of 'quiet chaos', neglecting his duties as a successful executive, choosing instead to sit on the bench across from Claudia's school, waiting each day in numbed silence for his daughter's completion of classes in order to drive her home. His only goal, despite various interruptions from passers-by and family members in incidents both humorous and distractingly serious, is to be there for Claudia, visible through her school window, to reassure her of his constant presence. How Pietro gradually figures out his grief, the world, and his place in it, discovering a new relationship with Claudia, forms the story line of this tender film.
Director Antonello Grimaldi, working with a screenplay adaptation of Sandro Veronesi's book by Veronesi and Nanni Moretti, draws extraordinary performances from his cast of premiere Italian actors. In an classroom scene Claudia's teacher is explaining the word 'palindrome' (a sequence of units that can be read the same way in either direction) and shares with her pupils how some things are reversible while other things are irreversible. Grimaldi and his writers and actors demonstrate this term as it applies to human events in this thoughtful story. The film, in Italian with subtitles, appeals both to the intellect and to the emotions. It is a little treasure.
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