As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Caos Calmo

Posted by Hedwig on October 25, 2008

Calm Chaos: the sea we see in the first shot illustrates the title perfectly: it’s forever moving, moving chaotically and even violently, but at the same time the overall impression is one of calm. It’s soothing. Or at least that’s our initial impression, especially in combination with the cordial frisbee throwing of two somewhat older brothers on the shore. But beneath that surface danger lurks, as we soon learn: two women are in danger of drowning. Each brother saves one… but when they return to their vacation home, they find out that while they were saving two lives, that of the wife of one of them abruptly came to an end.

The rest of the film, which unfurls slowly and with a remarkable lack of melodrama, is about how the man and his daughter continue their lives. The daughter goes back to school. And her father brings her… and starts hanging out in front of the school until she’s done. 

Nanni Moretti, who plays the main character, made his own introspective movie about grief a few years ago. La Stanza Del Figlio it was called, the Son’s Room, and while I’ll admit that the portrayal of grief in that movie is probably more realistic (or more “textbook” anyway, luckily I have little personal experience with grieving), I liked this movie better. I’m sure Pietro’s behavior is unusual, but it spoke to me. It makes sense to me that someone would withdraw, and immerse himself in a new but somehow familiar routine. Other people’s routine: the boy with Down’s syndrome who comes to the park everyday, the bar owner, the girl who walks her dog.

Of course, nobody can really escape their life, and his life in fact comes to him. His colleagues. His crazy sister in law. A surprise guest played by Roman Polanski. Even, eventually, someone who helps him go through some kind of resolution. But what I admire most is that none of the answers are neat, and the makers aren’t afraid of open questions and mysteries. The ending feels right, feels conclusive, but it’s the loose ends that make the movie linger.

The movie isn’t perfect (the work stuff especially feels convoluted), and it might not be very momentous, but it’s an interesting and surprisingly non-depressing little movie about – well, not even really grief, especially. About change. And about just how fascinating everyday life can be.

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One Response to “Caos Calmo”

  1. Daniel said

    Sounds quite fascinating, actually. I love the description in your last paragraph. Seems like there have been quite a few movies like that this year. Of course, I say that just about an hour after having seen Ballast, which contains very similar themes about grief.

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