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CARO DIARIO (DEAR DIARY) (director/writer: Nanni Moretti; cinematographer: Giuseppe Lanci; editor: Mirco Garrone; music: Nicola Piovani; cast: Nanni Moretti (Himself), Giovanna Bozzolo (Actor in Italian Film), Sebastiano Nardone (Actor in Italian Film), Antonio Petrocelli (Actor in Italian Film), Jennifer Beals (Herself), Renato Carpentieri (Gerardo), Antonio Neiwiller (Mayor of Stromboli),Moni Ovadia (Lucio), Mario Schiano (Prince of Dermatologists), Conchita Airoldi (Inhabitant of Panarea), Giulio Base (Car Driver), Carlo Mazzacurati (Film Critic); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Angelo Barbagallo/Nanni Moretti/Nella Banfi; New Line Cinema; 1993-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)
“A muddled story that I found foreign to my taste.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Italian indie filmmaker Nanni Moretti(“Red Lob”/”The Son’s Room”/”We Have A Pope”) writes and directs this wry comedy about the modern Italian lifestyle, with him playing himself in the quasi-autobiographical film. It’s all about him and includes a muddled story that I found foreign to my taste. This is his eight film but the first released in North America. Some folks refer to Moretti as the “Italian Woody Allen.” The film is divided into three chapters. Each chapter sets a different tone in the star’s diary. None of the chapters caught my fancy.

The first chapter, “On My Vespa”, has Moretti taking a motor scooter trek around a sparsely crowded summer-time Rome, where he checks out the cool architecture. We take in the sights of the city and hear his monologue on films and see clips of the American film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990). After expressing his admiration for the American actress Jennifer Beals, the star of Flashdance (1983), he by accident meets her with indie American director Alex Rockwell. Moretti also shows us the spot where Pasolini was killed in 1975.

The second chapter, “Islands”, has Moretti go to the Aeolian Islands of Sicily accompanied by his intellectual friend Gerardo (Renato Carpentieri), who hasn’t viewed television since the 1960s but on this trip becomes obsessed with it.

The third chapter, “Doctors”, chronicles Moretti’s countless visits to specialists to uncover the cause of a mysterious skin irritation. There are a number of times he’s given a wrong diagnosis and wrongly treated with harmless creams, pills and acupuncture. Luckily for him, he comes across a doctor who discovers he has a treatable Lymphoma.

It’s an innovative self-portrait where he mocks himself, shows frustration with life’s travails and is moved by both tragedy and nostalgia. Though it has some parts that were interesting, his supposedly mind-blowing observations and the running monologue style of delivery wasn’t sustained and I grew restless with all the dull spots.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”