Film Scouts Reviews

"Aprile (April)"

by David Sterritt

Nanni Moretti is at his best in low-key diary movies like the marvelous "Caro Diario" and this year's "Aprile," which again stars the filmmaker as his own irascible self. The picture starts at election time, with our hero already whining about the defeat his left-wing party will inevitably suffer—why should this year be different from all the others?—and dreaming of the '50s-style musical he's about to direct. Also on his agenda is the birth of his first baby, and since he's nothing if not self-centered, he quickly allows this impending event to push everything else to the margins, to the distress of the star hired for his musical (scratched on the first day of shooting) and the crew on hand for his replacement project, a civic-minded documentary about Italian society as mirrored in magazines and other pop-culture outlets. The baby eventually arrives, and Moretti does his best to intergrate the infant into his daily routines, with predictable but diverting results. "Aprile" is lightweight fun, frequently charming and occasionally hilarious, as when Moretti berates himself for taking his pregnant wife to see "Strange Days," which he finds insufferable and a sure-fire bad influence on his still-unborn child. (This recalls his similar potshots at "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" in his previous picture; in each case his wrath is misdirected at a worthy film, but amusingly expressed all the same.) It's hard to say whether Moretti will ever make a truly important movie, but his ruminations in "Aprile" are as engaging as they are meandering.

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