Italy’s answer to Woody Allen, NANNI MORETTI, makes a radical departure from his early funny films with bereavement drama The Son’s Room. And he conquered Cannes With it. Words: Torn Dawson

e may have been starring in. writing.

producing and directing his own films in his

native ltaly since the mid-1970s. but .\'anni Moretti only gained wider international recognition in the 1990s with the release of Dear Diary and Apri/e.

These autobiographical works. which deftly blended elements of fiction and documentary. helped reinforce Moretti‘s comic screen persona as the childisth temperamental and procrastinating filmmaker. a man of the Left in despair at the opportttnism of Italian politics. Which makes the Palme I)‘()r-winning The Son 's Rmml sttch a radical departure for the 48-year—old Moretti.

A poignant study of a bourgeois family thrown into tttrtnoil by the sudden death of their teenage son. it stars Moretti as Giovanni. a father and psychoanalyst in an Italian seaside town. who on the morning of the fateful drowning turns down an opportttnity to go jogging with his son in order to visit a distressed patient.

The ideas for the film. says Moretti via a translator. had been percolating for several years. ‘liirst of all I had this idea to write the part of a psychoanalyst. to act that part. and to be a psychoanalyst for a period of time. Secondly. I had the idea of using a terrible. painful experience that divides people who love each other. because there is this commonplace. conventional wisdom that says pain creates solidarity and unites people.

‘I wanted to show a situation in which the opposite was the case: pain and suffering here separates people. Also. I wanted to examine a

22 28 Fifi/V ‘4 ' lit" 2/17,?

‘I had the idea of using a terrible, shoot for The Sun's that divides people who love each other’

Moretti moves on from his comic screen persona

person who is in daily contact with other people‘s suffering and look at what happens when that person is subjected to the most dreadful pain.~ Analysts have invariany been treated llippantly by the movies. routinely described as ‘shrinks’. and

portrayed as either hapless incompetents or

omniscient. dispassionate seers. Moretti‘s (iiovanni is a far tnore credible creation. The director. who himself has never undergone psychoanalysis. says. ‘I wanted to create a very human person. unlike in other films. I wanted there to be a sense of the mutual affection that can happen between an analyst and their patients. I‘m glad I acted the part of the analyst now rather than a few years ago. because I would have presented the character in the same sort of ways I presented my other characters: in other words he would have been less tolerant. The people

I represented before were much less tolerant of

other people. they wanted to be the director of other people's lives. Whereas today my characters have changed. probably becattse l have changed too.' (iiven the emotionally draining nature of the film's content. I ask Moretti to what extent it was difficult to combine acting and directing. especially since the

Room was disrupted and prolonged by both illness and indttstrial action. ‘\\'el|. let‘s say it‘s something that has always come naturally to me from the beginning. And when I say the beginning. I‘m referring back to the first short films that I shot back in 1973. I always found acting and directing come quite naturally. but it is also very hard work.

Nevertheless. when I started to write this film. I always had in mind that the main character would be acted by me. I don't think this will always be the case. Yet. although being the star and the director can be tough. it gives me that emotional involvement and that psychological investment which is what I seek ottt from the cinema.’

The Son’s Room opens Fri 1 Mar. See review.

Lights, camera, action . . .

GREEK CINEMA HAS BEEN expenencing sometth of a rewal thanks to an Ingectim of state funding. Approprate. then. that Edinburgh's Fif'nr’toose is screening over the week 1-7 March a “nest of" selection of the 37 ‘ea:..res and seven docti'her'ta'les the comic; has turned Co: at recent ears. Pick you 0.24". highlights of the Greek thvn Festivai. Out Recg". cuts recommends two muse aceti'*‘-ehtariesz Scream/if Jay H8'.'/K//?S / Put A See/10.", Me and Remberiko. an exa'nmatiCP 0‘ G'eece's verson cf the b’ues. ALTHOUGH EWEN BREMNER is moving into the Hollywood fast lane with roles in Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down, the Scots actor is taking time out to introduce Small Wonders, the short film showcase organised by community filmmaking outfit the Edinburgh Film & Video Access Centre. The event, which features six shorts from FVA members, takes place at the Filmhouse on Saturday 2 March.

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THE LATE, GREAT IAN BANEN makes his final film appearance in The Testimony Of Taliesin Jones, a children’s drama being premiered at the DCA 2-5 March. Director Martin Duffy makes a personal appearance on Saturday 2 and Monday 4 March to talk about his film.


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