When Parents & Children collide
by Camillo de Marco
In Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You the young Scott (Lucas Haas) gets hit on the head and suddenly becomes a Republican, to the horror of his parents Alan Alda and Goldie Hawn, lifelong Democrats. Similarly, in Giovanni Veronesi’s Genitori & Figli: Agitare Bene Prima dell'Uso [+see also:
film profile] (“Parents & Children: Shake Well Before Using”, out on February 26 through Filmauro), young Ettore (Matteo Amata), the son of progressive parents Silvio Orlando and Luciana Littizzetto, turns out to be more racist than Adolf Hitler.
"Young kids are breathing the intolerance in the air as if it were smog", explains a psychologist. Or perhaps it was the endless fighting between mum and dad, which eventually tore them apart?
In the new comedy by the director of box office hits Manual of Love 2 [+see also:
film profile] and Italians [+see also:
film profile], the confrontation between parents and children is not one of dialectics, but of rival gangs, different tribes who do not speak the same language. Two planets in collision.
Professor of Italian Michele Placido cannot speak to without screaming at his 18-year-old son Andrea Facchinetti, who wants to be on TV’s Big Brother (and which father would maintain his calm?). To better understand his son, the teacher asks his students to write a report on “Parents and Children: Instructions for Use”. But his student Nina (Chiara Passarelli), the sister of the nationalistic Ettore, suggests another title, the one of the film.
Nina, the film’s main character and narrator, guides us through today’s trifles and vulgarities: adults who are too young, girls who are too mature, fragile and busy mothers, naïve fathers, children who have lost the wisdom typical to their age. Leaving us with the unpleasant sensation that the director, wrongly called the heir to Mario Monicelli, has created reverse voyeurism rather than satire.
In the biting words of poet Patrizia Valduga, in regards to a recent TV show: "If we take away from The Simpsons the intelligence, humour and expressive organs that give it its sense, we are left with the degree zero of the hackneyed quotidian and the insignificant, irreparable private". Which can come at the expense of one of cinema’s main objectives: entertainment.
(Translated from Italian)
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