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Son’s Room, The

Director: Nanni Moretti


Nanni Moretti’s The Son’s Room marked an impressive change of direction after the easygoing charm of his two best-known films, Dear Diary and Aprile. It’s a moving and often painfully honest meditation on the effects of the death of a loved one. Moretti himself plays Giovanni, an affluent psychoanalyst who lives an idyllic bourgeois existence in a small Italian town. Genial by nature and besotted with his wife Paolo (Laura Morante), Giovanni also dotes on his two children, Irene (Jasmine Trinca) and Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice). Unexpectedly, a decision to give up a family Sunday to visit a distant patient brings catastrophic results when Andrea makes fresh plans to go diving with friends and never returns.
Both structurally and thematically, The Son’s Room is more focused, less scattershot than Moretti’s previous works. The witty elliptical asides and playful vignettes are dispensed with in favour of a more cohesive narrative about love, loss and the need for personal redemption, which in less assured hands could have played out as a mawkish, overly sentimental family melodrama. Moretti fashions something altogether more telling: an authentic, incisive and deeply affecting drama about insurmountable grief and the fragile fabric of life.
Italy-France, 2001. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 99 mins.

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