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aka - Stanza Di Figlio, La
Italy/France 2001
Directed by
Nanni Moretti
98 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Son's Room

Early in his career Nanni Moretti was dubbed the "Italian Woody Allen" for films like Caro Diario, less for their outright humour than for their semi-autobiographical self-reflexive subject-matter with Rome taking the place of Manhattan, that and the fact that Moretti wrote and starred in them.

This film, which won the Palme D'Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, is a shift of pace, being an account of a family stricken by the death of the oldest child. Moretti plays a psychiatrist who practices out of his home and spends a long time on showing us his character's family and work life in typical diaristic style before tragedy strikes. The rest of the film is devoted to showing how the family copes with the everyday reality that life does go on.

Moretti, with excellent support form Laura Morante as his wife and Jasmine Trinca as his daughter, does a creditable job of showing us what it might be like if such a tragedy happened to any of us, capturing the sense of loss, grief and anger with which we can empathize.. Given that Moretti espouses a life-affirming philosophy he introduces a device - a discovered letter revealing the presence of an unknown girlfriend in order to break the potentially claustrophobic set-up of the three main characters and to resolve his story cathartically. This slightly undermines the film's main strength, which is its truthfulness to the unremarkable everyday, but Moretti is not a breast-beater and the film remains an emotionally touching effort.




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