After ten intense days watching all kinds of films, the vast majority of which are dramatic in tone, it is a delight to come across a proposal as fun and chaotic as the new work by Nanni Moretti, who aspires to its second Palme d'Or in this 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival with The Sun of the Future.
The Italian actor and filmmaker won the highest award on the Croisette in 2001 for The Son's Room and seven years earlier he won the Best Director award for Caro Diario. Just two years ago, he participated again in the official section competition with the family drama Three Floors and now he is totally unleashed in a story with an optimistic spirit that is a hymn to the cinema, peace and love in which Moretti She expands at ease dancing to the sound of Voglio vederti danzare, by Franco Battiato, and other Italian songs, while letting go singing without fear of ridicule the unforgettable Think by Aretha Franklin.
Deliciously contagious and funny, Moretti performs like a fish in water in the skin of a paranoid filmmaker and lover of the seventh art who is carrying out, with many problems, a film that places us in 1956 with the arrival of a Hungarian circus in a neighborhood of Rome convened by the local section of the Italian Communist Party (PCI). The action takes place on the same dates that Stalin's tanks enter Hungary to put an end to the revolution against the pro-Soviet communist dictatorship.
A story of cinema within cinema in which Moretti clearly enjoys playing a character twinned with Woody Allen, very neurotic, a fan of classic cinema - he watches Lola, by Jacques Demy, next to his wife on TV and his daughter but in the end they leave him alone- and the ice cream. Once again, it has its fetish actress Margherita Buy, fantastic as always, playing her wife, a film producer who can't find the right moment to put an end to their 40-year marriage.
Several years ago Moretti wanted to start a film set in 1956, although he abandoned the idea to opt for Three floors. "Then I called the scriptwriter and told her that I wanted to go back to that time, but also talking about the director who was shooting that film. She needed to talk about her sentimental life, her hopes, her peculiarities," she said at a press conference.
The Italian Communist Party has a lot of weight in the narrative, as well as the internal divisions of the Western communists in a time of war like the one currently occupied by the Ukraine. "We wrote the script before the Russian aggression against Ukraine. When that invasion took place, it impressed me a lot, it was like a coincidence with what we showed in the cinema," he said.
The actor and director will turn 70 this August and has recalled that "since I shot my first super 8 short, 50 years ago, I have tried to tell the world I know with irony". In the film, Moretti very ironically criticizes the weight of streaming platforms, especially Netflix. In one scene, those in charge of the audiovisual giant let him know that they are in 190 countries and that it is necessary to advance the action and a 'what the fuck' (what the fuck...?) as soon as possible to capture the attention of the audience . "I don't like that so many filmmakers, producers and writers have given themselves so meekly to the platforms."
And he continues: "When I think of making a movie I don't think of a 13-year-old boy in Pennsylvania watching a movie on his cell phone in the subway. I think of a dark movie theater where viewers are going to see images much larger than them and I think about continuing to make films thinking about theaters".
A vision that he knows is not shared by Martin Scorsese, to whom his character supposedly talks on the phone in a surreal sequence in which he reflects on the use of violence in the cinema. Just a hoot. The film and its message of optimism and nostalgia has been very well received by the press. We'll see if Ruben Östlund and his team are also convinced in some way.