Well-to-do, sophisticated couple, Elsa and Michele, have a 20 year-old daughter, Alice, and enough money for Elsa to leave her job and fulfill an old dream of studying art history. After she graduates, however, their lives... more » change. Michele confesses he hasn't worked in two months and was fired by the company he founded years ago. Elsa overcomes her initial shock by pouring extra energy into facing the crisis, while Michele, exhausted by an unsuccessful job hunt, lets himself go, alternating between vivacity and apathy. The growing distance between them eventually leads to a break-up. Only when they part will they realize that they risk losing their most precious possession: the love that binds them.
WINNER Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, 2008 David di Donatello Awards (Italian Academy Awards) - 15 Nominations total
WINNER Best Actress, Moscow Intl Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION Toronto Intl Film Festival, Seattle Intl Film Festival, London Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, Newport Intl Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema (Film Society of Lincoln Center, NY)« less
"How closely is your job tied in with your very identity? Anyone who feels secure and deserving in their comfortable middle class lifestyle is bound to come unhinged when watching this powerful film...What happens when you lose your prestigious position and privileges and suddenly find yourself working class ? How much do our jobs and homes define who we are? If you lose that job, do you also lose your self-worth? Can you redefine yourself as working class, living where you never would have deigned to live before? Can you keep the same friends now that you can no longer afford to eat in the same restaurants?
In the current crisis, this film should resonate with everyone... How many of us are really secure, no matter what we do as professions? The acting is superb, the plot tight, and the characters resonate, as do the situations...
Very contemporary topic
B. Hartford | Massachusetts - United States | 02/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love Italian movies and love Margarhita Buy as well. This movie is both inspiring and scary too. The realities of the world now are not those to be envied and admired. There is insecurity all around us with our employment and overall financial situation. I am fortunate to be currently employed, but this can change just as quickly as it did for Michele. Being in my late 40's is a tough time to be out looking for a job where much of my competition is with those in their 20's and 30's. I can totally understand the angst that Michele felt. I too, can understand the helplessness and anger that Elsa felt too. I can't imagine being told by a spouse that they have been out of work for 2 months and that everything in my world is now about to take a drastic move.
I highly recommend everyone see this wonderful movie !"
A Depressing Theme In Depressing Times: A Brilliant Film
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Times are tough right now, mirroring the era of The Great Depression. Financial security is a ghost, friendships and relationships are tested by walking the razor edge of insolvency, and according to the 'popular movie' polls the escape for many is in the darkened movie houses with comic hero or animal animated mindless safety net entertainment. Not so with the very brilliant film DAYS AND CLOUDS written (with Doriana Leondeff, Francesco Piccolo, and Federica Pontremoli) and directed with immaculate attention to detail by Silvio Soldini (BREAD AND TULIPS, etc). Soldini recreates the global financial nightmare in the form of an examination of one family's fracture and consequences. It resonates despite the depressing story, offering a glimpse into the universal ties that bind us at this moment.
Elsa (Margherita Buy) is graduating from Art History and Restoration school and seems to be a woman on top of her league, complete with surprise gifts and a celebration staged by her husband Michele (Antonio Albanese). Waking up the morning after her congratulations party, Elsa is ill with a hangover, but even more shocked when Michele breaks the news to her that he has been out of work for two months, ashamed that he has lost his company and his job, hiding in the couple's boat during the day. There is no money left and the couple must face losing their home and are forced to take on menial tasks to survive. Pride prevents the couple from sharing their financial downfall with friends and with their one child - Alice (Alba Rohrwacher) who has elected not to pursue education in favor of waiting tables in a restaurant she has invested in with friends. The tension of keeping the secret to themselves causes mounting friction between the couple and events that would have never happened had they shared their misfortune with friends and family bring their relationship to a near fatal end. How they survive is touched, quietly and quickly and gently, at film's end.
Soldini spares no pain in the responses of his characters' misfortune, but at the same time he allows each character to emerge from ideal married tropes to completely human victims of financial ruin. Buy and Albanese are triumphant in their performances as the married couple caught in the crumble of decline. But there are fine performances by Rohrwacher and Fabio Troiano as her lover Riki, and Carla Signoris as Elsa's closest friend Nadia, and actors playing two ex-employees of Michele who provide a window of friendship in Michele's time of desperate need.
The cinematography by Ramiro Cirita and the musical score blending opera and folk music by Giovanni Venosta enhance the motion of the film that though just under two hours in length, appears more succinct. Silvio Soldini has taken a topic that affects us all and polished into a film that is bound to touch every viewer deeply. Highly recommended movie from The Film Movement. Grady Harp, February 09"
A Good Foreign Film
Daniel G. Lebryk | 05/28/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not one of the best Film Movement movies. It wanders around for a fairly long time trying to build the story, and then gradually draws you into Michele giving up on all the things he thought important. Before you know it, you're living Michele and Elsa's new life, not remembering the old one. Fairly abruptly the film ends with a very tender moment. At 6 minutes short of 2 hours, it is an investment to watch this film.
There is a feeling of that cinema verite from many years ago. A sense that the director had a good idea where things should go, what major events should happen, but let the charismatic Michele and Elsa be themselves. The film delivers a wonderful view into Italian culture. Not the one Americans know from Italian immigrants or touring through Italy. More of how the Italian man has a complicated but comfortable life. He is expected to be the sole provider, and allowed to do exactly as he pleases. In many ways, his wife is like his mother. This film turns that cultural icon on it's side. And the subject of the film is this couple's path to resolution.
This was shot entirely in Genoa, Italy. Over the past two years I travelled to Genoa around a dozen times. I spent a week at a time actually working with an Italian consluting company, gaining a bit more insight into the Italian male and female. This film shows a lot of what I saw during those many weeks. The only strange part of this film, there are some very pretty areas in Genoa, they chose not to film there. The views are mostly of the port and an almost suburban area. The views of the Mediteranean are beautiful. But this is a much more bleak film. One aspect of Genoa perfectly captured - the city is almost all asphalt and concrete buildings. There is virtually no greenery anywhere, since almost every square meter of this city has buildings or streets.
Technically this is a standard melodrama. There is nothing particularly creative about the camera angles, framing, editing, or lighting. It is shot in a very straight simple manner. That is some of the charm of this film, it feels a bit like cinema verite (without the bouncy handheld camera and grainy film stock). In Italian with English subtitles.
The film would definately receive and R rating for language, the f bomb was translated a pretty large number of times. Aside from that language issue this is really a PG-13 film. There is no nudity, no violence (unless you count Michele slapping his adult daughter Alice), and one very short moment of sensuality completely under the covers. There is really very little R rated about this film.
Film Movements is such an incredible film series. This is a good film. It's well worth viewing if you love independent and foreign film. The two lead characters are pleasant to look at, not beautiful, but pleasant all the same. The Italian is wonderful to follow along with the subtitles."
Solid film but pretty somber tone
Nearabout Wednesday | around parrots a lot | 05/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"lacks the bit of humor the viewer needs to get through it. prefered The Grocer's Son or Ginger and Cinnamon if you like Film Movement stuff that's similar."