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  Aprile Nanni State
Year: 1998
Director: Nanni Moretti
Stars: Nanni Moretti, Silvio Orlando, Sylvia Nono, Pietro Moretti, Agata Apicella Moretti, Nuria Schoenberg, Silvia Bonucci, Quentin de Fouchecour, Renato De Maria, Claudio Francia, Jacopo Francia, Matilde Francia, Daniele Luchetti, Giovanna Nicolai
Genre: Comedy, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Nanni Moretti (as himself) remembers that night in 1994 when he was watching television with his mother and the general election results came in. It was a landslide for Silvio Berlusconi, who Moretti despised as a fascist using democracy to come to power, but he felt helpless as the presenter on the Berlusconi-owned station rhapsodised about how great his boss was, and Moretti's only reaction was to smoke his first joint to take the edge off a terrible day for those of his political persuasion. But as a documentary maker, he felt he had a duty to record what was happening in his homeland, and if that meant delving into his domestic life as well as his professional existence, then so much the better...

Aprile, coming hot on the heels of Moretti's biggest hit so far Dear Diary, was embraced by his fans as everything else he produced was, but not everyone was quite as enamoured of him as they were, or indeed as Moretti himself was of his own output. His recent success appeared to have gone to his head with his effort, to the extent that he did not let anyone else take centre stage aside from his infant son, who just as many a proud parent would regard their own baby as absolutely fascinating, might not be as charming to anyone outside of the director's social circle or family. Especially when he thought what the world really needed to see was is offspring having his dirty nappy changed - yeah, thanks for nothing, Nanni.

But the rest of the film was similarly self-obsessed, and thoroughly anchored to Italian politics in the mid-nineties. Berlusconi made a lot of enemies when he was leader of Italy, but just like every political grandstander he had to leave the limelight eventually, and once he had he did not seem quite as important in the great scheme of things as so many controversial heads of government did after their time has passed. Therefore all this focus on him and the rise of the right in Italy he heralded looked fairly after the fact from the perspective we had all these years later, and did not make for as engrossing a subject, particularly for outsiders, as Moretti may have hoped back in 1998. Actually, all the politics merged into the much of a muchness that was his record/recreation of his day to day nineties times.

Not helping the experience of Aprile for Moretti agnostics was that he never shut up, he chattered away constantly throughout the eighty minutes or so, only finally silencing when we were treated to a musical number which was just about worth waiting for, yet whether it justified sitting through the previous over an hour's worth of navel-gazing was very questionable indeed. Even if you shared his opinions, which veered to the Communist as far as we could discern, you would have to be exceedingly charmed by this man to have the stamina to put up with this barrage of stream of consciousness speechmaking from a director who did not understand the concept of less is more, and subjected the audience to every passing thought that ran through his bearded head. You certainly would be none the wiser about Italian politics, good or bad, because this was such a mess of acute self-indulgence that any valid points would be lost in irrelevancies like all the baby business; strictly for each of the existing Moretti fans, then.

[Studiocanal release this on Blu-ray with this feature:

Le cercle du cinéma - Festival de Cannes 1998.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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