A Brighter Tomorrow (2023) Cannes Film Festival 2023

May 24th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Nanni Moretti | Drama Italy/France, 95′

Since winning the Palme d’Or over two decades ago with The Son’s Room  Nanni Moretti, now nearly seventy, has been turning out self-reflective dramas about life for the Italian left-wing middle classes, and this circuitous comedy is another predictable sortie into that Roman territory and not without his signature moments of dry humour.

Like many directors of his era, Moretti keeps making the same film over and over again and this is the least involving to date. But then life tends to repeat itself so this is not such a bad thing, although you start to wonder why he is still in the main competition with so many talented filmmakers languishing in the sidebars. His last visit to Cannes with Three Stories, in 2021, was another middling drama in his repertoire where the women are usually peacemakers, the men the troublemakers, apart from Moretti himself who always good as the self-questioning man of integrity. Naturally – he’s the director.

A Brighter Future is essentially another of his films within a film, Moretti is Giovanni a neurotic novelist struggling to finish his own feature. As usual the politics are left-wing and the pace plods along placidly about the Italian Communist party objecting to the Soviets during the Hungarian invasion of 1956.

Margherita Buy – always a luminous prescence – plays his wife Paola, the film’s producer. But the is marriage going downhill and she has decided to leave him. Meanwhile Matthieu Amalric makes another febrile appearance as the film’s producer desperately trying to rustle up finance. To beef up the production Giovanni he has cast a group of Koreans who provide the funniest scene during a script meeting where their interpreter gets a ticking off for translating an intimate aside he has with Paola.

There are references to his ‘friends’: architect Renzo Piano and Martin Scorsese in a debate about violence in film. Scorsese has surely more experience and greater validity in commenting where this is concerned. The story gradually grinds to a rather pessimistic conclusion in chewing over and digesting the decadence of politics. So this is not one of his best outings but maybe a brighter future will bring a better Moretti film with it. MT



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