Soldini back with intimate social drama
After Toronto, the latest film by award-winning Italian director Silvio Soldini (Bread and Tulips, Agata and the Storm), Clouds and Days [+see also:
film profile], had its European premiere today at the RomeFilmFest.
Starring Margherita Buy (Ignorant Fairies) and Antonio Albanese, the film is a stark depiction of a middle-aged, well-to-do couple doing their best to cope with a series of difficult blows.
Michele (Albanese) waits until his wife Elsa (Buy) has fulfilled her dream, of going back to school and graduating in art history, to tell her that he lost his job two months earlier and they will have to sell their house. She quits volunteering as an art restorer and after moving into a small apartment both take on menial jobs as their frustrations mount.
“This film is, above all, about shock – of two people who expected to live out their lives serenely yet are faced with something for which they are entirely unprepared,” says Soldini. “They love each other but this is not always enough, especially given the socio-economic context of today’s world.”
Despite dealing with the pressing issues of a shrinking middle class, the film ends on a hopeful note and is more emotionally restrained than the director’s earlier, more lyrical work. The actors turn in powerful performances yet the realistic approach (including mostly hand-held camerawork) at times creates too great a distance between the underlying drama and empathy for the characters.
Co-written by Soldini and regular collaborator Doriana Leondeff, along with Francesco Piccolo and Federica Pontremoli, the international co-production was produced by Lionello Cerri for Italy’s Lumière & Co. with Switzerland’s Amka Films and broadcaster RTSI, and received backing from Eurimages, the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture and the Republic and Canton of Ticino.
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