Film Scouts Reviews

"Aprile (April)"

by Cari Beauchamp

Nanni Moretti, who brought us the delightful Dear Diary several years ago, is in competition again this year with Aprile.

Covering two and a half years but concentrating on the two Aprils in which the Italians hold their elections and his son is born, Moretti claims to base this film on diaries as well, but I think that's in part an excuse so we won't expect much and instead be enthralled by his vignettes of egomaniacal self absorption.

The filmmaker dreams of making a musical and cancels it as soon as the cast and crew are ready for the first shot, turns instead to a documentary of the Italian elections all the while making himself the center of angst during his wife's pregnancy and delivery. The obvious corollary of giving birth to a child and giving birth to a film is never heavy handed and Moretti's self deprecating way of calling himself on his bullshit before anyone else can keeps the audience from being totally appalled.

As he did in Dear Diary, Moretti shows us a beautiful, colorful Italy as he focuses on a panorama of umbrellas, a boat packed with Albanians and once again rides his scooter down the hills. Moretti has serious points to make about the Italian government, the tendency to oppose rather than to support and the state of journalism today that keep the film from being an extra long Sienfeld. In fact, if Moretti has an American relative, it is the early Woody Allen. Aprile is short enough (80 minutes) and sweetly light enough that the confections that star in the last sequence as he finally films his Busby Berkeley inspired 50's based musical in a bakery, brings the film full circle. You can't deny that you leave wishing he'd made "a real movie", but you are still grateful he made this one.

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