Tuesday, October 9, 2012

883. Caro diario/Dear Diary (1994)

Running Time: 101 minutes
Directed By: Nanni Moretti
Written By: Nanni Moretti
Main Cast: Nanni Moretti, Renato Carpentieri
Click here to view the trailer


Once again I turn to the sweet embraces of YouTube, a place where I've found so many of the films that, for so long, have graced the contents of my "unfound list". Thank God some soul was kind enough to upload "Dear Diary" to the video sharing website or else I may have never seen this fantastic film.

The plot is a little strange and there's not much to it, so it shouldn't take long for me to fill you in on the necessary details. The film is broken into three parts. The first part, entitled "In Vespa", shows the main character, Nanni Moretti (playing himself, he's also the director, writer and producer of the film) literally riding his Vespa (a small scooter) around the streets of Italy. While we see him ride, we also hear his thoughts as he writes in his diary about a variety of different subjects, which range from the film "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" to Jennifer Beals and "Flashdance". This part ends with Moretti visiting the Pier Paolo Pasolini memorial, at the site of where he was assassinated. The second part, entitled "Islands", is much more scripted than the first and actually utilizes other actors to tell a brief, comedic story about two men, Moretti and friend Gerardo (Carpentieri), trying desperately to find a place to quietly work. They first try Gerardo's home island of Lipari and when that location proves to be too noisy, the take an island tour of Italy in search of a more serene setting. The final part, entitled "Doctors", is the most autobiographical section of the film and tells of Moretti's own brush with cancer, which first manifests as an itching on his arms and feet.

In "Dear Diary" I found something unlike anything I'd ever seen before. The film blends together, using it's music, imagery, subject matter and the talents of Moretti, to create something very unique and very original, something that I took to almost immediately. Nanni Moretti has been dubbed the "Italian Woody Allen" and I guess that's a fair statement, although I'm really not sure if it fits. The two are alike in that this film was sort of similar to something you'd see from Allen, although Moretti seems to be less concerned with comedy than Allen. At first glance, I didn't view this film as a comedy, even though it kind of was. Instead, I just viewed as this new and unique genre, something like a fictional spin on an autobiographical account - I can't stress enough how original this picture was. I took to Moretti right away and immediately after my viewing of "Dear Diary" I found myself on IMDB looking up further recommendations for his films. He had a presence on the screen that was warm and inviting and that welcomed you to take part in his picture, to enjoy it and to try and connect with it.

Each part was so different, that each part could be viewed alone, without the help from the others. If I was hard pressed to pick a favorite part, I'd have to go with "Doctors", although I'd put it just inches ahead of "In Vespa". I liked "Islands" a lot too, just not quite as much as the first and third parts. There's really not much else for me to say here. I'm very pleased that I'm taking to world cinema as much as I am. Last night I found myself a really good Iranian film and today, a magnificent Italian movie.

RATING: 9/10  Before I forget, I HAVE to link to this video, because in the past few days it's been consuming what I watch. First, there was a clip of it in "Cinema Paradiso". I liked it, went and found it and played it constantly that night, before and after writing that review. Then, today, the same clip shows up in "Dear Diary". Check it out.


October 9, 2012  3:57pm

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