The Keys To The House (2004)

GIANNI AMELIO

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, , , based on the novel Nati due Volte by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .  

In this beautifully heartfelt film, a Milanese businessman () 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.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2004

Venice Film Festival:  In Competition

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