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. Like many directors of his era, Moretti keeps making the same film over and over again. 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 plays a 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 – is here again – as his long-suffering wife Paola, and the film’s producer. She is in therapy with their marriage going downhill. Meanwhile Matthieu Amalric makes another febrile appearance as the film’s producer desperately trying to russle up finance. 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
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL | COMPETITION 2023