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SON'S ROOM, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Giovanni (Nanni Moretti) is a psychiatrist in an Italian port, living a normal life with his wife Paola (Laura Morante) and teenage children Irene (Jasmine Trinca) and Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice). His patients confide in their nueroses adjacent to his calm home. He treats them with the logic of a medical scientist. But when he agrees to a patientís request for a Sunday home visit, he has to defer a run with his son, who goes off on a diving trip with friends Ė never to come home.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you detect emotional and thematic echoes in this film and the high profile American drama, In The Bedroom, you wonít be alone. For us film critics, the juxtaposition of preview screenings within just a couple of weeks of each other, heightens that linkage. And for anyone serious about cinema, the two films would make a great study. But going to the cinema for most people is not a study; itís just entertainment. Story telling with powerful tools. Nanni Morettiís first dramatic film explores the sudden infliction of great pain on an ordinary family and the strains it places on the parental relationship. But Moretti makes things more complicated by adding a layer of complexity in having the fatherís profession as a psychiatrist part of the emotional experiment. He does this with a purpose: to bring us closer to the characters and to highlight the fatherís transformation. And he set (and shot) the film in a small urban environment (the eastern seaside town of Ancona, where I once spent two memorable days visiting keyboard factories) so the psychiatrist would be more likely to be one of a few, and hence attend a greater cross section of patients. While the themes of parental guilt are certainly canvassed, the film is more subtle and complex than that, and succeeds by being totally specific to its subject and subjects. There is no moralising or moral certainty, there are no pat solutions for blame or balm. The resolution of grief for all of the characters is brought by unusual and unexpected messengers. A sensitive, and far from depressing film, The Sonís Room touches many nerves, all of them responsive.

Review by Louise Keller:
A simply beautiful film, The Son's Room is both tragic and joyous all at once. Nanni Moretti's Palme D'Or winner may appear simple on the surface, but in fact, it is as complex as life itself, burgeoning a myriad of images both visual and emotional. And although the storyline reveals the ominous relevance of the son's room, don't be mistaken into believing that this is a depressing film. Far from it, although, there are indeed some heartfelt, almost unbearably painful moments that will surely affect anyone who has ever lost a close family member. It is probably true to say that it is only the impact of a tragedy that can tip the balance of emotions to such a degree that our senses are so acutely developed. This cinematic tour de force is a thoughtful foray into the abyss of our emotions. After all, the Italian word 'stanza' is poetic in its implication and in many ways, The Son's Room is poetry. There is a little bit of everyman in this family, and it is the fact that it could be any family, that makes it all the more moving. Moretti's script is understated; much is achieved with no words at all. A glorious score colours the film with indescribable richness: seven poignant notes form a haunting motif that reflects joy, sorrow, anger and compassion on this journey grounded in emotions. We feel Giovanni's guilt and Paola's grief and understand how each copes with his pain. Moretti's Giovanni is transparent Ė he is a serious man whose emotions are always in check, and for the first time, he has been forced into territory that places him out of his comfort zone. In his role as psychoanalyst, he can no longer be the passive, objective listener. The performances are superb, especially Moretti and Laura Morante, who brings such warmth to the role of Paola. An intensely personal and profound tale about family life, The Son's Room does not proffer solutions, but leads us into a doorway filled with light, offering hope and beauty when it is least expected.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SONíS ROOM, THE (M)
(Italy)

CAST: Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante, Jasmine Trinca, Giuseppe Sanfelice, Silvio Orlando, Claudia Della Seta, Stefano Accorsi, Sofia Vigliar

PRODUCER: Angelo Barbagallo, Nanni Moretti

DIRECTOR: Nanni Moretti

SCRIPT: Nanni Moretti

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Giuseppe Lanci

EDITOR: Esmerelda Calabria

MUSIC: Nicola Piavoni

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Giancarlo Basili

RUNNING TIME: 9 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 21, 2002

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Magna Pacific

VIDEO RELEASE: November 13, 2002







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