September 20, 2011

Caro Diario (Italy 1993)

Suppose you're a director with no money and no ideas for a new film? Why not make a film about your own life with you as the protagonist? It can't possibly be that boring, right?

This situation has led to some painful exercises in ego boosting and the mini genre of the autobiographical diary film only occasionally resulted in a cinematic landmark like "David Holzman's Diary". More often than not, these films turned out to be nothing more than just vanity projects.

Nanni Moretti, however, is not vain. Instead he is authentic and has a sincere interest in people and the world around him. He notices things that other people don't see which is a major quality for a director to have. His 1993 film "Caro Diario" for which he won the award for best director in Cannes, is straightforward and deceptively simple. By showing himself in various situations of his life he gradually reveals some universal truths. Nothing at all is stylized and even though the film is certainly scripted, everything feels real.

The film consists of three episodes. The first (and best) one starts off rather light and becomes the saddest and most moving of the three. The third one reverses this dramaturgy by casually introducing a serious subject only to become increasingly comic. It ends with a wonderfully ironic twist that - like the whole film - celebrates the simple things in life. The middle episode may be the least sophisticated one but is nevertheless quite entertaining and equally genuine.

"Caro Diario" was Nanni Moretti's breakthrough film. He is now undoubtly one of the most important European directors but despite him being a regular at the major film festivals, his popularity outside of his home country is still limited. Maybe because he doesn't provoke with nazi statements at press conferences, maybe because of the nature of his cinema.

An unpretentious cinema that carries humanism in its heart and is all the more precious for it.


On the road of life: Nanni Moretti

No comments:

Post a Comment