The Son’s Room – La Stanza del Figlio (Nanni Moretti – 2001)

I have tried so much to get your picture Victor. Yes Nanni Moretti is perfectly flat as that particular character should be. But there is something missing. Nanni Moretti is flat full stop. Which is different. Nanni Moretti is flat on his own, and his acting is forced, almost theatric, because the actor is not there. His flatness does not reach me. He is desperate yes, looking for his pain. That he can’t find. His pain is all left to the noises.

The screws on the coffin. The loud music at the fair. He screams through these noises. But this is the director Nanni Moretti, great. The actor is absolutely anti-artistic. He is unfair to let us have his acting.
He is in this character because he wants to try this life experience. His eyes don’t show any pain because he’s is thinking about how this pain could be, and how he would feel in this situation. But he absolutely does not feel.
This is basically a personal experiment. Anche un po’ irrispettoso.
No. I think Nanni Moretti, if he really wants to be under the camera, should only use himself as a reporter style – like in Caro Diario.
Sorry Victor.

By Laura Bianconcini

A Native Italian from Rome who is master disseminator of Italian culture through travel.


  1. Laura, Shlomi, I haven’t changed my mind. Has anyone else out there seen this film? Just in case, a quick resume’: A well-off psychiatrist, fabulous family, typical clientele, loses his teen son in a diving accident. Normal shrink “distance” in business has been offset by supposed family attachment, close ties. Yet this supposed attachment is accompanied by a stifling emotional muteness, an ambiance completely flattened in tone and appearance throughout movie. Even when following dancing singing Hari Krishnas our shrink can’t let loose.

    For me the story amounts to this: An emotionally constipated bourgeois professional, in his 40’s, trying to be always good but ineffectual in his relationships, finally must confront real loss.

    This is the age group & circumstances of Moretti’s peers, 40 something’s finally getting past the ersatz consumerism of their youth. Have they all been boarded up in “can’t we all get along?” philosophies? Does Moretti need to find some emotional center in his acting to convey a person who lacks an emotional center? Moretti acts as the Everyman for his central characters, here as well as in his other films, none of whom seems to plunge into life but rather ironically nibble at its outter edges until some castrophe interferes.

    Yes, it’s possible to see Moretti trying to show these middle age men grasping for salvation in some kind of hearth-centered romance, some good-looking woman dancing for his pleasure to distract him from the alienation he & his peers suffer from. But such salvation won’t come from outside, nor will it come in pretending sports replaces life’s conflicts, nor will it come in the compensatory practices of buying nice things, like shoes for every possible ocassion.

    I found Moretti not only perfectly cast for this somewhat sympathetic but finally missing-in-action character but probably easily identifiable as a type by those who have experienced (or failed to experience) life as a complex interplay of various conflicts and failures.

    So, my dear Laura, your desire for an actor who can “emote” would defeat the real horror behind this film, which is not the death of the son but the previous death of the main character whose existence seems to be based on a fervent attempt to ignore how he could be truly connected with others.

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