Just so you know, I’m not going to even pretend that this “top 10” , what I’ve so cavalierly called “The Best You Can Find in the US” is any kind of definitive list; I’m trying to make a kind of sampling of ones that everyone should see. And I may not stop at 10.
With that in mind, it’s important to get Nanni Moretti into the conversation, and so today I’d like to remind everyone about his 2001 “La Stanza del Figlio” – The Son’s Room.
I’m an American who started watching Italian movies about 10 years ago – I am hardly an expert. I just love them, and I’ve seen a bunch of them. So, I always hesitate to make any sweeping statements about things that I don’t know enough about – but my impression is that Nanni Moretti is one of the top few people responsible for revitalizing the Italian film industry. He’s fearless – pissing off the government, Berlusconi (and nobody does that), and the Catholic Church with reckless abandon in his pursuit of excellence. He puts himself out there like few people are willing to, writing, directing, acting, and producing – and he’s looking for new ways to do those things all the time.
La Stanza del Figlio is important because it’s a big winner, having won the Palme d’Or at Cannes along with the FIPRESCI Prize for “its depiction of a united family’s destruction following the death of a child”. It was called the “best film” by the David di Donatello awards and star Laura Morante won best actress.
It’s important, as well, because it’s just so good, and as I’ve said before, maybe a little over-acted (Nanni Moretti isn’t the best actor in the world) but never over-told. This difficult subject is handled and with care and sensitivity in it’s telling of a family crumbling when a son is suddenly taken from them. It’s a little hard to watch, I must admit, but I wouldn’t call it a tear-jerker. There is nothing cheap or manipulative in its control of out emotions; It’s truth is tragic and beautiful all at once. Was this death an accident? Could it have been prevented? What responsibility must the family take for it, and how do they go on?
Also starring in the role of the daughter is Jasmine Trinca, (La Meglio Gioventù), who, for whatever reason, seems underused in Italian films. Her scene with the scuffle at the basketball game in La Stanza del Figlio is one of my favorites of all time.
Be sure to read my review HERE.