Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Cannes Marathon: The Son's Room

(Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival)

Directed and starring Nanni Moretti with a screenplay by Moretti, Heidrun Schleef, and Linda Ferri from a story by Moretti, La stanza del figlio (The Son’s Room) is the story about a family dealing with the loss of their son as they also try to move on after his death. The film is an exploration into the death of a child as well as two people trying to live their life after their son’s death. Also starring Laura Morante, Jasmine Trinca, Giuseppe Sanfelice, Silvio Orlando, Sofia Vigliar, Claudio Santamaria, and Stefano Accorsi. La stanza del figlio is a devastating yet captivating film from Nanni Moretti.

The death of a child is an event that parents fear the most as the film is about an unexpected death of a couple’s son in a scuba diving accident that left them at a sense of loss as the parents and their teenage daughter try to cope with grief. It’s a film that doesn’t really have much of a plot since it concerns a family dealing with loss as the father Giovanni (Nanni Moretti) tries to figure out what he would’ve done differently on the day his son Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice) died. Giovanni felt responsible for what happened as he tries to analyze everything that he could’ve done as it would affect his work as a psychoanalyst while his wife Paola (Laura Morante) and their teenage daughter Irene (Jasmine Trinca) both try to cope with their grief.

The film’s first act spends much of the time of the family as one that is typical as Giovanni tries to figure out Andrea as he is a teenager coping with growing up while being evasive about his activities with his friends. Then on a day when Giovanni and Andrea were supposed to go for a jog only for the former to come in to help a patient at the last minute, it’s a day Giovanni wouldn’t forget as the unthinkable happens. For the second and third act, it becomes this very understated drama where there is bits of melodrama but it has Giovanni, Paola, and Irene all trying to cope with the loss. Giovanni would delve into his work but it would become hard to do as he and Paola try to continue living their lives with great difficulty. Notably as they watch Irene play a basketball game for her school where she would finally snap as it becomes clear that she isn’t coping with her brother’s death very well as is Paola who becomes very emotional leaving Giovanni to try to piece everything as well as finding closure for himself and his family.

Nanni Moretti’s direction is very simple and understated as he doesn’t go for anything that is overly-sentimental nor aim for any kind of style. Instead, he creates something that feels very realistic and to the point not just in the compositions he creates but also has this intimacy that is very engaging. Notably as he starts the film off in a very lighthearted tone where it is about a family being normal but once Andrea’s death happens, the tone would change to something very somber. Notably as it comes in an unexpected moments that includes Giovanni thinking about what he would’ve done differently on the day of Andrea’s death. The third act would be about this moment of closure where it would involve someone Andrea had corresponded with as Paola wants to meet this person though Giovanni has some reservations yet it would prove to be a very effective moment in the film’s climax. Overall, Moretti creates a very touching and rapturous film about a family coping with the loss of a loved one.

Cinematographer Giuseppe Lanci does excellent work with the film‘s cinematography as it is simple and understated for many of its daytime scenes while going for simple lights for the scenes at night. Editor Esmerelda Calabria does amazing work with the editing as it is very effective for many of the film‘s emotional moments while not aiming for any kind of style by presenting the drama in a straightforward manner. Production designer Giancarlo Basili does nice work with the look of the apartment home Giovanni and his family live in as well as the office that he works at as well as Andrea‘s room which serves as a place that the family often looks at.

Costume designer Maria Rita Barbera does terrific work with the clothes as it‘s mostly casual and understated to play into the somber tone of the film. Sound editor Benni Atria does superb work with the sound from the way some of the film‘s locations sound to the way music is played in the room during a somber scene. The film’s music by Nicola Piovani is wonderful for its somber yet serene score that plays into the restrained melodrama of the film while its soundtrack features some Italian pop songs plus contributions from Michael Nyman and Brian Eno.

The film’s brilliant ensemble cast includes some notable small roles from Roberto Nobile as a priest, Renato Scarpa as Andrea’s headmaster, Claudio Santamaria as dive shop clerk, Silvio Orlando as the patient Oscar who called on the day Andrea would die, Claudia Della Setta as obsessive-compulsive patient, Stefano Accorsi as a sex-addicted patient, and Sofia Vigliar as a young woman who met Andrea. Giuseppe Sanfelice is terrific as Andrea as a young man dealing with growing pains as well as the trouble he caused at school.

Jasmine Trinca is amazing as Andrea’s older sister Irene who starts to disconnect herself from her friends following her brother’s death while having a hard time coping with her loss. Laura Morante is fantastic as Andrea’s mother Paola as a mother ravaged by grief as she tries to move on with her life only to become emotional. Finally, there’s Nanni Moretti in an excellent performance as Giovanni as a man trying to analyze everything about that day as well as figure out how to move only to realize how difficult it is as it would affect his work.

La stanza del figlio is a remarkable film from Nanni Moretti that features superb performances from Moretti, Laura Morante, Jasmine Trinca, and Giuseppe Sanfelice. It’s a film that explores death at its most shocking as well as its most intense while presenting it with such sensitivity and restraint. In the end, La stanza del figlio is a superb film from Nanni Moretti.

© thevoid99 2014

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