(Giorni & Nuvole)
DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Dysfunctional Family Drama from Italy Arrives on DVD
When Michele (Antonio Albanese) was fired from his own company, he was too embarrassed about having been stabbed in the back by his partner to tell his pampered wife, Elsa (Margherita Buy), or their 20 year-old daughter, Alice (Alba Rohrwacher). Wallowing in a state of denial, he allowed them to continue enjoying the lavish lifestyle to which they had become quite accustomed.
But as the bills began to mount, it was only a matter of time before he would have to ‘fess up about the family’s dire economic straits. This development is particularly upsetting to her because she had recently gone back to college to pursue her love of art history.
Now, she’ll have to drop out of school and take a job as a telemarketer at a call center. Meanwhile, Michele, frustrated by having to take on odd-jobs like delivering messages and hanging wallpaper, ends up depressed by this sorry state of affairs. When he quits even looking for minimum-wage, make-do positions, Elsa becomes emotionally distant over his failure as a provider.
Next, she starts coming home late in order to entertain the advances of her solicitous boss. Eventually, Michele gets the message, moves out of the house and is humbled when he has to crash on the couch of his daughter.
“Can this marriage be saved?” is the timely theme explored by Days and Clouds, a compelling, dysfunctional family drama from Italy by Silvio Soldini. Plausibly-scripted and well-acted, the telling tale proves to be decidedly universal, given the world economy’s currently teetering on the brink of a widespread recession.
Undoubtedly, plenty of previously comfortable middle-aged middle-managers must be struggling with the same sort of marital and money issues in the wake of the toll taken on that beleaguered demographic by downsizing and globalization. Dude, where’s my job?
Excellent (4 stars)
In Italian with subtitles.
Running time: 115 minutes
Studio: Film Movement
DVD Extras: A four-minute film from Germany entitled “Lebenslauf.”
To see a trailer of Days & Clouds, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiyORFElMGg
Thursday, January 29, 2009
(Giorni & Nuvole)