A Nanni Moretti film in Cannes is always an event, and in France the director is much loved, “a reference in my life”, says Mathieu Amalric, director and actor among the protagonists of the sun of the future – second Italian title in competition. And this despite the disappointment of the previous one. Three floors received coldly two years ago, perhaps because it displaced the viewer too much from their expectations. Here, on the other hand, the public feels “at home”. And works. At least in the Italian “test” where the film did – and continues to do – very well with critics and the box office, although after thinking about it. Three floors despite the lack of balance between intentions and form, it worked precisely in that sincere “inadequacy” of his that borders on awkwardness. But there Moretti – in the painful figure of a father beaten by his son – was not like this “il Moretti” era in which generations of the left have found themselves for years. He was an “other than himself”, as happens in the films after Querido Diario (1993) and April (1998), when the author, without renouncing autobiography -or rather, autofiction on which he builds all his poetics – has chosen to “translate” into other figures that preserve existential passages. Of son’s room (2001), almost the psychoanalytic farewell of the child-son ego on the threshold of fifty years (Moretti is from 1953) to the moving My mother (2015), which sees him “translate” into the character of Margherita Buy, his alter ego in the process of mourning the loss of his mother, Agata, a recurring presence in his youth filmography. habemo papam (2011) in which the Pope’s withdrawal from “public affairs” can be seen as an allusion to the director’s political experience that ended with a resignation. AND the alligator where Moretti “translates” the villain, Berlusconi, assuming the weight of the Italian anthropological change.
In the sun of the future here it is again the “real” Nanni Moretti of shoe paranoia, of Vespa rides in Rome replaced by the more contemporary electric scooter, of the Prati district: a geography of obsessions and recognizable places despite the fact that instead of the Sacher cake there is ginger and pistachio Bronte. But even this “real” Nanni Moretti is one more “translation” into his autofiction, for the benefit of those who want to see him like this, peers, very young people, viewers who grew up with him and in his mythology. Giovanni, the protagonist (Moretti) always speaks aloud, articulating his words, a bit like his character when he says: “You deserve it, Alberto Sordi!”, as if to remind us that yes, it’s him but it’s not him, that is a “meta-Nanni Moretti” because there is no going back, because things change and with them people, reality, feelings, life.A director in crisis in life and on the set, the PCI in 1956 and the invasion of Hungary, Moretti’s favorite places
ONLY IN THE CINEMA one can wind (and unwind) time, and in those places (of the heart), among the self-irony about himself and his companions, the self-quotes, the fragments of his films, there is that impossible to find oneself, simply as it is impossible today at seventy years old and with a belly to make the film from The swimmer, the swimmerby John Cheever and not just because it’s already been done – “I should have done it when I was thirty,” says Giovanni/Moretti between strokes in the pool that immediately red dove.
but what movie is it then The sun of the future? The title seems to allude to the socialist utopia of a bright future for all human beings on Earth. What if that “sol” refers instead to the musical note? Giovanni is a director, his wife Paola (Margherita Buy) has produced it for years, but for the first time he produces someone else’s film: a young professional who loves splashes, violence, the opposite of Giovanni’s cinema, it would almost seem like heir to harry Portrait of a serial killer whose critical sublimation upsets Moretti’s dreams in Dear Diary. Will it mean something?
Giovanni’s film is set in Italy in 1956, in a Roman section of the then Italian Communist Party in Quarticciolo; there is Ennio, a journalist from «Unità» and a communist official with the typical gray grisaille, (Silvio Orlando), and his wife Vera (Barbora Bobulova). They have invited the Budavari Circus (another quote from Palombella rossa!), they are Hungarian and when the Soviet tanks arrive they have just invaded Budapest.
Vera sides with the insurgents and it is to ask the PCI to “break” with the USSR, Ennio stops embarrassed. But the movie doesn’t work, Giovanni dreams of filming a love story with Italian songs; meanwhile his marriage falls apart, the French producer (Mathieu Amalric) is arrested, the world around him slips away, Netflix wants the “what the fuck” it doesn’t have. And that tragic ending with the protagonist’s suicide that only the new Korean producers seem to understand sounds false to him. History is not made with “if” says Giovanni. And “if” it were possible instead? Maintain those “two or three principles” in the cinema as in life?
Moretti/Giovanni then changes communist Italy (Tarantino already did it with the Nazis in inglorious Bastards, and with Sharon Tate in once upon a time in hollywood) on behalf of the “good guys” to tell us precisely that anything can happen in the cinema, even if the PCI breaks with the USSR. Actually it really happened, twelve years later, in ’68, with the invasion of Prague when some Italian communists left the party – hence the manifesto with Rossana Rossanda, Luciana Castellina, Lucio Magri. And meanwhile, other movements were asserting themselves on the left. But Moretti has never felt close to this story, his reference even though critically it has always been the PCI, then the Thing or DS or Quercia and everything else up to the current Pd. And with it the rites, the themes, the culture, the images that were part of it, that Italian cinema that is never subterranean but organic to the system in a mirror process. popular of which Moretti was the catalyst. A question of options and responsibility also for the future.
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Moretti and the life stories of a world that no longer knows how to listenFOR SOMETHING The point of representing yourself – or representing something – has become impossible, yet the common language that made your sentences a lexicon has vanished forever. How to separate from “that” Moretti, from the narcissism of the “comfort zone” of kicking the ball, songs in the car (generalized vice of certain Italian cinema), musical hits between Battiato and Very very? And how to still say something (from the left?) in the private that becomes public and vice versa?
the sun of the future It is basically a film about a defeat, which is that of the author (before the PCI) fixed on being what can no longer be, on repeating himself in time –perhaps because he theorizes a cinema that is not from space, as he explained to the young director in the ethical “lesson” on images and their use and abuse, among the best sequences of the film, shouting his moral without knowing who.
AND SEEN that the privilege of cinema is precisely to reinvent the world, Moretti takes it and affirms it in “his” world, his very personal “what the hell” of which the intolerance of the past seems to have diminished in the almost parodic, at times. Funny repetition, other times self-embarrassing. In this Fellinian process – even Moretti is an author’s adjective, in fact he says “morettiano” -, the Fellini of Ginger and Fred in particular who reflected on Italy and the meaning of his art, what remains is the memory (of his cinema , of an era, of a common feeling) in the final parade of characters, faces of its actors, loved ones -perhaps the only really exciting sequence: the “sun of the future” of his very personal utopia outside of time, which is also a privilege. Take or leave.
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