Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Original title: Le Chiavi Di Casa
Italy/France/Germany, 2004. Rai Cinema, Jean Vigo Italia, ACHAB Film, Pandora Filmproduktion, Arena Films, Arte France Cinéma, Bavaria Film, ZDF/Arte, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Sky, Lakeshore Entertainment, Canal+, Bulbul Films, Eurimages, Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Filmförderungsanstalt. Story and screenplay by Gianni Amelio, Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli, based on the novel Nati due Volte by Giuseppe Pontiggia. Cinematography by Luca Bigazzi. Produced by Enzo Porcelli. Music by Franco Piersanti. Production Design by Giancarlo Basili. Costume Design by Cristina Francioni, Piero Tosi. Film Editing by Simona Paggi. Toronto International Film Festival 2004. Venice Film Festival 2004.
In this beautifully heartfelt film, a Milanese businessman (Kim Rossi Stuart) meets his fifteen year-old son for the very first time. The boy was born out of wedlock and his mother died in childbirth, so the father left him to be raised with his maternal aunt and uncle. Now, the severely physically and mentally challenged boy needs to go for therapy in Berlin, and his biological father has been asked to accompany him in the hopes that it would help the boy in his growth towards manhood. Once there, Stuart finds himself overwhelmed with the responsibility necessary to take care of this boy, until he receives help from a patient’s mother (the ever fascinating Charlotte Rampling) who has been taking care of her daughter for years. The two forge a friendship, and once he gets over his fear he finds himself falling helplessly in love with his son. There’s nothing to be said about the story; it’s one you’ve seen and heard an endless amount of times (think of a male version of Central Station), but its execution is superb. The performances, from both father and son, are stupendous, and Gianni Amelio’s direction stays out of the way just enough to let the genuinely human elements of the experience shine through.