Set in Italy in the early 1980s the film follows Nello (Claudio Bisio), the recently hired director of a newly developed work cooperative of former mental patients. After the closure of ...
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Set in Italy in the early 1980s the film follows Nello (Claudio Bisio), the recently hired director of a newly developed work cooperative of former mental patients. After the closure of state psychiatric hospitals and asylums in Italy under the Basaglia Law many former patients were left with few resources and little hope of reintegrating into society. With the intention of actually improving the lives of his pupils, rather than just sedating them, Nello encourages them to expand their individual abilities and explore the wider world around them although, regardless of intention, there is sometimes a price to pushing boundaries too quickly. "We can do that" maintains a sometimes troubled, but ultimately unwavering faith in human nature and human potential.
I saw this last month at the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival and of the 36 films I saw there this would be in my top two. I loved this movie! Nello (Claudio Bisio) is an out of work former trade unionist who has been sent to run a cooperative of mental patients who were released from Italy's psychiatric hospitals when the government closed the hospitals down under the 1980's Basaglia Law. Nello doesn't like the over medicated clients way of life at the cooperative and he seeks to find a more beneficial life for them and possibly learn a profession to suit their capabilities. By chance, two of the clients Gigio (Andrea Bosca) and Luca (Giovanni Calcagno) show an unusual and individualistic and artistic aptitude for installing parquet flooring. This leads to the rest of the former patients at the co-op forming a flooring company with high end clientèle and Nello coordinating the operation by assigning work roles within the company that suits each worker the best. Yes, this is kind of like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest except that they have jobs but it's still clever, fresh and one of the funniest films I have ever seen. The cast is fantastic. Character development begins immediately when we are introduced individually and collectively to the patients who make up a fantastic ensemble cast that continue to grow throughout the film. Writer/director Giulio Manfredonia co-wrote the story and screenplay with Fabiio Bonifacci and the cast and crew must have had a great time putting this together. I understand this was a big box office hit in Italy and I hope it gets a worldwide audience. Great characters, great actors, great story, great production. I would give this a 10 out of 10 and highly recommend it.
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