A breakthrough film for Moretti, winning a major prize at Cannes and receiving relatively wide distribution abroad, Dear Diary is a wonderful cinematic essay which effortlessly combines the comic and the serious, the personal and the political. There are three main entries in this journal, all of them featuring Moretti himself on his travels through Italy. He begins in summertime Rome, riding through the half-deserted city on his Vespa scooter, admiring or criticising the architecture and stopping to chat with pedestrians. There’s an amusing encounter with Jennifer Beals (‘Flashdance changed my life’, claims a clearly besotted Nanni) and a sombre visit to the site of Pasolini’s death. The second segment finds Moretti in more philosophical mood as he escapes to the Aeolian islands to see a friend and settle down to some work. But his companion, an academic devoted to a life-long study of Joyce’s Ulysses, can’t stand the isolation and has become addicted to TV soaps. The final and much more serious episode chronicles Moretti’s real-life battle with illness and the ludicrous bureaucracy of the Italian health service. Whether playing the funny man on the Vespa, the bemused observer of strange habits or the angry citizen, Moretti makes a sharp and entertaining guide to contemporary Italy.Italy-France, 1994. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo. 100 mins.