[ENTERTAINMENT]Italian Filmmaker Is a Triple-Threat Star

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Italian Filmmaker Is a Triple-Threat Star

Nanni Moretti may not be a household name in much of the world, at least not yet; but his Woody Allen-esque films, highly praised in Italy, are gaining increased international recognition. Korea is getting a double dose of the Italian's films: "The Son's Room" came out Friday and "Dear Diary" opens Monday.

This year, Moretti won the Cannes Film Festival's most prestigious award, the Palme d'Or, for "The Son's Room." He also won best director at Cannes in 1994 for "Dear Diary." The opening of these two movies marks the first time his films have been shown in Korean theaters.

Moretti has a flair for documenting the individual and society. He draws on petty incidents from everyday life to create a vision that transcends the ordinary. He also writes, directs and stars in his movies, which are often autobiographical observations of life and death, tinged with comedy, which is a major reason why he is often compared to Woody Allen.

The theme, plot development and mood of "Dear Diary," a satire, and "The Son's Room," a drama, are completely different, but both touch on death and human suffering.

"Diary" is divided into three chapters. In "On My Vespa," Moretti rides his motor scooter on a personal tour of Rome. Along the way, he meets some terrible people and some funny ones.

In "Islands" Moretti and his friend Gerardo (Renato Carpentieri), an avowed popular-culture hater, traipse through the Eolie Islands just off of Sicily.

The third segment, "Doctors," chronicles Moretti's search to find the cause of a skin rash. After countless visits to doctors, misdiagnoses and innumerable medicines, he finds out he has cancer - fortunately, a very treatable kind.

The story of "Son's Room" is not extraordinary: a father, Giovanni (Moretti) grieves for his soft-spoken son, Andrea (Guiseppe Sanfelice), who died in a scuba diving accident. But under Moretti's skillful direction, simple images become haunting ones.

Giovanni, a successful psychiatrist, has a close-knit family. One Sunday, he promises to go jogging with his son by the Adriatic Sea. But Giovanni is called away by a patient, and while he is away, his son dies.

The guilt is shattering. The family starts to unravel. His wife Paolo (Laura Morante) both lashes out at him in anger and clings to him. His daughter Irene (Jasmine Trinca) takes out her rage on the basketball court, only to be suspended after a fight.

Giovanni listens to his patients, but distracted by his own anguish, his practice grinds to a halt.

Then one day, a letter arrives from Arianna (Sofia Vigliar), a girlfriend of Andrea's who the family did not know about. Desperate for any information and memories of their son, the parents call Arianna. When she meets them, she brings photos of Andrea and the healing process begins.

"The Son's Room" and "Dear Diary" leave strong impressions. They are a refreshing change of pace from the current mainstream movie offerings.

by Park Jeong-ho

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