11 August 2004 | paul2001sw-1
An Italian Kieslowski
It takes a certain amount of cheek to write, direct and star in your own films and Nanni Moretti's earlier work, 'Carao Diaro', was certainly eccentric, as he played himself as an annoying and socially limited loner. In 'The Son's Room', he proves he can act a role, in a more orthodox portrait of a family struggling to come to terms with the death of their son. The portrait of inter-generational relationships seems over-idealised (and how many teenagers are into Brian Eno?), but the real strength of this film is its sense of inicidentality. Instead of playing as straight melodrama, we see the family trying to continue with their lives, and in particular Moretti's character, a psychotherapist, interacting with his patients. The importance attached to the chance juxtaposition of events is reminiscent of Kieslowski, as is some of the dialogue: stylised but profound, even (or even because) its relationship to the main events is oblique: the whole carries meaning precisely because the individual parts are not overloaded, everything is potentially symbolic but nothing is forced. At the end of the day you believe in these characters; as a result, their tragedy rings with truth.