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Capturing the feeling of frustration and immobility at the heart of Italian life today is something of a national mission for many writers and filmmakers. In Quiet Chaos, based on Sandro Veronesi's widely read and translated 2007 novel, director Antonello Grimaldi offers one of the most compelling descriptions of this state of malaise afflicting an entire country. He teams with cult actor/director Nanni Moretti, who coauthored the screenplay, to create a memorable, metaphoric drama about career-minded TV executive Pietro (Moretti), who suddenly finds himself a widower with a young daughter to raise. Emotionally unable to come to grips with his wife's death, he drops out of the office rat race and spends his days waiting for his daughter outside her school, where he observes his own life in relation to a narrowly circumscribed universe. This is the "quiet chaos" of the title, reflecting Pietro's personal withdrawal and inability to connect with his emotions and mourn the loss of his wife. At the same time, it extends to the people around him-his unstable sister (Valeria Golino), a woman he saves from drowning(Isabella Ferrari), his brother (Alessandro Gassman), and his anxietydriven coworkers (Charles Berling, Hippolyte Girardot, Denis Podalydés),who suspect he has secret reasons for not coming to the office while the company is going through a brutal merger. Lightly directing a top-notch cast in some of the peak performances of their careers, Grimaldi creates a world of convincingly problematic characters around Pietro, played with charismatic naturalness by Moretti. Also of note is the film's finely balanced music track, incorporating songs by Radiohead, Rufus Wainwright, and Stars with Paolo Buonvino's subtle original score. The film earned a massive 18 nominations for Italy's David di Donatello film prizes.
Co-hosted with Italian Cultural Institute of New York.
Director's Statement Collapse
The challenge of this film was to stick with the lead actor for most of the time in the same place and yet try not to transmit the feeling of a lack of mobility. I took this suggestion from Veronesi's novel. Pietro stays outside the school not just to watch out for his daughter's reaction, but above all to watch over the story of his life, to keep a tight hold on it.
We will agree with Carlo, Pietro's brother, when he tells him that perhaps because Claudia doesn't see her father suffer, she doesn't think she should feel pain either. For these reasons I don't think it's ever necessary to abandon Pietro. Every scene revolves around him, in a figurative sense and in a physical sense. The whole story is narrated from his point of view. Technically, I used camera movements that allowed me to describe his emotions, respecting his reluctance to demonstrate his sorrow and his attempt to keep it at bay. I hope I succeeded in portraying this long wait, properly rendering what was so well-described in the novel: the confusion that “modern” people face before the impossibility of dealing with the mourning process, without being able to confide in either a religious or lay tradition.
Film Information Collapse
[QUIET] | 2008 | 112 | Narrative Feature
Directed by: Antonello Grimaldi
Foreign Title: (Caos calmo)
Premiere: North American
Cast & Credits Collapse
Principal Cast Nanni Moretti, Valeria Golino, Isabella Ferrari, Alessandro Gassman, Blu Yoshimi, Hippolyte Girardot
Screenwriters Nanni Moretti, Laura Paolucci, Francesco Piccolo
Producer Domenico Procacci
Editor Angelo Nicolini
Director of Photography Alessandro Pesci
About the Director(s)Collapse
Antonello Grimaldi has built an impressive resume of film and television credits. His films include 2001's An Impossible Crime, which won the special jury prize at the Noir In Festival; 1999's Asini, with Claudio Bisio, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, and Fabio De Luigi; 1996's Bits and Pieces, which played at the Berlin International Film Festival and London Film Festival; 1988's Nulla ci puo' fermare; and the episode La Ricerca for the film Juke Box, which also featured episodes by Daniele Luchetti, Carlo Carlei, and Valerio Ialongo. Grimaldi's television work includes Distretto di polizia, La moglie cinese, Le stagioni del cuore, Gli insoliti ignoti,42° Parallelo, Totem, and Il caso volcano.