Nanni Moretti’s 2001 film The Son’s Room explored a middle-class Italian family’s attempt to cope with the unexpected death of a teenage son. Quiet Chaos, which stars and is co-written by Moretti, but is directed by Antonello Grimaldi, examines the impact of bereavement on a middle-aged husband and father.
On the very day that he and his brother (Alessandro Gassman) rescue two women from drowning at the beach, media executive Pietro (Moretti) returns home to find his wife has died in an accident. Feeling numbed by his loss and unable to express his grief, he spends his days in the square opposite the school attended by his 10-year-old daughter Claudia (Blu Yoshimi).
A gentle, understated fable, the elegantly shot Quiet Chaos is a film that invites our suspension of disbelief. It’s held together by the impressively restrained performance of Moretti, who appears in practically every frame and who doesn’t have a voice-over to ‘explain’ his feelings. Admittedly Claudia is one of those preternaturally poised and wise-beyond-their-years children beloved of European cinema, and the scenes between her and Pietro can feel mawkish, but Quiet Chaos does convey the strangeness of everyday life during the grieving process. Look out for a cameo from a diminutive and very famous Polish-born director.
GFT, Glasgow and Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 28-Thu 4 Dec.