Behind the Sun

Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante. Directed by Nanni Moretti.
Running Time: 99 mins
Rated: M
The Son's Room is a good film to compare and contrast with the recent US hit, In the Bedroom. They both deal with the tragic death of a young adult son and the unrelenting grief of the parents left to mourn him. The US film has raw emotions exploding on the screen which leads to revenge. This fine Italian film, against all southern Mediterranean stereotypes, has the parents hold in their anguish and grief as their family searches for a glimmer of hope.

Giovanni (Moretti) is a successful psychotherapist. Some of his patients are very ill indeed and the content and language of their sessions will offend some viewers. Giovanni is married to Paola (Morante) and they have two children Irene (Jasmine Trinca) and Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice). They are a normal and happy family. Giovanni, an avid runner, encourages his son
to jog with him one Sunday morning. At breakfast a patient calls Giovanni to his home urgently. The father goes to work while the son goes off with friends. Andrea never comes back. The Son's Room is about recriminations, despair, emotional distance and blame. It is also about holding on to anything that makes a dead child present.
Winner of the Palme D'Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, The Son's Room is a very good film, but not perfect by any means. Almost all the scenes are very short, a little too much so. The one where the coffin is sealed while the family watches on is the longest and most shocking. It could not be based on a real-life experience. At least I hope not! The Church cops it for having the predictable line that God has predestined an inescapable date with us for the time, place and manner of our death. This 'thief in the night' theology is shown again to be neither comforting nor hopeful. The major flaw in the film is that a psychotherapist could be so unaware of the dynamics of grief in his own home. Giovanni seems especially na

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