“I bring to the cinema my memories and sentiments. It’s a story in which everything is reinvented to look for the truth. Much if of it is not true, but the feelings are all real.”
Starring Kim Rossi Stuart and Micaela Ramazzotti, the “autobiographical” Anni Felici (Those Happy Years) is told from director Daniele Luchetti’s 14 year-old self’s perspective in 1974 and really lets it all hang out, to use ’70s terms, telling about his family.
What happened to this deeply moving and authentic portrayed family portrait in Italian theaters? With a box office total of € 1,371,000, I’m guessing that it probably didn’t even arrive in a lot of Italian cities. If you missed it when it was out, renting it now is highly recommended.
Watching this story, I couldn’t help asking myself, “Are his parents still alive?” and “How did they feel about their sexual and emotional ’70s selves evolving on the big screen for the world to see?” Kim Rossi Stuart stars as Guido, an artist and art teacher who seems to be wasting a lot of his time in his studio having sex with his college students/models, all beautiful and conveniently naked for their work. His wife Serena, played by the beautiful Micaela Ramazzotti, is neither artistic or intellectual, and being relegated to the role of wife and mother and shut out by a husband who “doesn’t like to mix work with family” (obviously) leaves her insecure and unfulfilled.
At first she clings to her husband and tries to force her way in to his life in a more meaningful way, but when that doesn’t work, she decides to take off for a while and see if he misses her. Giudo, reeling from a disastrous art show in Milan and a bad review from an important critic, finds that he’s not the free spirit that he wanted to think he was when his wife announces that he’s going away for the summer, one that will change everything for the family.
I’ve always said that I could never be a writer because I’m not honest enough, and the honesty in Luchetti’s film is both beautiful and terrifying, be it real or embellished. The performances by Rossi Stuart and particularly Ramazzotti are shockingly authentic.
This is Micaela’s finest performance, and it was dreadfully overlooked by everyone giving out movie awards. I find myself thinking about her seaside “meltdown” and it still brings tears to my eyes.
I can’t stop thinking about this poignant film even all this time, and I consider it one of the best 2013, if not the decade.