In Caro Diario (Dear Diary), Italian Moretti’s 1993 film, the central character sits alone at the end having coffee. The Son’s Room (La Stanza Del Figlio) opens with a man having coffee and so begins writer-director-producer-actor Moretti’s latest exploration of himself and the human condition. In 25 years, Moretti has made nine films which generally explore and embody some or all of his beliefs, usually political awareness, resistance to authority, devotion to family and athletic fervour.

The Son’s Room is no different. Filmed in the beautiful northern Italian coastal town of Ancona, Moretti gives us a spare portrayal of a family, but more importantly a father, played by Moretti himself, coming to terms with the loss of a child. He tries to maintain the comedy for which he is known, so the psychoanalyst’s patients are nearly all stereotypical neurotics.

I had mixed feelings about this film, on the one hand finding it a self-satisfied story told simply and without heart but on the other hand appreciating Moretti’s attempts to tell a story about the shit that can happen to a family just when they think they are happy. I wasn’t drawn into it at all and found it quite clinical in some respects. At least Nicola Pavani’s score is not sentimental and there are no violins! The film won Moretti the Palme D’Or at Cannes and The Son’s Room is a different attempt to convey loss even if we can’t feel the pain.

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