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Quiet Chaos

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
As well as writing, directing and appearing in his own work, Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti sometimes acts for others, as is the case in this moving adaptation of a novel about a widowed father, which was a hit in Italy. Moretti, an endearing and humane presence, is Pietro, a businessman with the relaxed demeanour that only serious wealth allows. We meet him on a beach, playing ball with his laidback brother Carlo (Alessandro Gassman), before both are forced to dive into the sea to rescue a pair of women. One tragedy averted, another emerges: Pietro arrives back at his holiday home to find his ten-year-old daughter Claudia (Blu Yoshimi) in a state: her mother – his wife – has fallen and died.

The first few minutes threaten a weepie along the lines of Moretti’s ‘The Son’s Room’, but what unfolds involves a strange conceit that suggests a lower-budget American studio film seeking indie kudos: Pietro returns Claudia to school and proceeds to run his life from a nearby bench, honouring a promise that he’ll never stray far. He strikes up habits and acquaintances: there’s the blonde with the dog; the woman with a Down’s syndrome son who expects him to flash his lights; the guy that runs the local trattoria… Meanwhile, all sorts of shenanigans are unfolding at the office, culminating in a brief visit to the bench by a Richard Branson-type uber-exec played by a director whose identity I won’t reveal.

The film has flaws – not least an awkward use of songs by Radiohead, Rufus Wainwright and Stars – but it’s a thoughtful portrait of the purgatory of grief that prefers small incidences and exchanges over grand gestures of sentiment and revelation. It’s sad – but never cloying.
Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 24 October 2008
  • Duration:112 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Antonello Grimaldi
  • Screenwriter:Nanni Moretti, Sandro Veronesi
  • Cast:
    • Nanni Moretti
    • Valeria Golino
    • Isabella Ferrari
    • Alessandro Gassman
    • Blu Mankuma
    • Blu Di Martino
    • Silvio Orlando
    • Hippolyte Girardot
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