Wednesday, October 28, 2015
You Can't Save Yourself Alone (orig. Nessuno si salva da solo) 
Corriere de la Sera (M. Porro) review*
La Repubblica (C. De Gregorio) review*
You Can't Save Yourself Alone (orig. Nessuno si salva da solo)  [IMDb] [FT.it]* (directed by Sergio Castellitto [IMDb] [FT.it]*, screenplay by Margaret Mazzantini [en.wikip] [it.wikip]*[GR]*[WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb] , based her the novel by the same name [GR]*[WCat]*[Amzn]*) is a well acted / well crafted Italian divorce drama that played recently at the 2015 (51st Annual) Chicago International Film Festival.
Delia (played by Jasmine Trinca [IMDb] [FT.it]*) and Gaetano (played by Riccardo Scamarcio [IMDb] [FT.it]*) meet in an outdoor Roman bistro. They're both "dressed to the nines "("bella figura, you know ...;-), 'cept they're not smiling, 'cause this is _not_ a date. Recently having begun the process of divorcing, they're meeting to arrange how they're going to divide-up time with the kids during the upcoming summer.
Gaetano, clearly the more gregarious and outwardly happier or the two, didn't seem understand what Delia's fuss was about. "Just tell me when you want to send the boys over to me - for two weeks, right? - and we'll make do." But Delia didn't see things _nearly_ so "simply." She had spent the previous Sunday morning in the sun, when everything all around them was was closed, waiting with their two boys at a prearranged street corner "down the hill" from their apartment for Gaetano to show-up to pick-up the boys, and he never showed.
What happened? Well, "work" happened - Gaetano was a screenwriter, well paid (perhaps), successful (perhaps), but (apparently for years now) not exactly reliable "at home." When his director/producer boss from the studio called, even on a Sunday morning, to "bring in everybody" for a "brain storming session" that really could have been done at ANY TIME but HE, "the boss," wanted / "needed" to do it NOW, Gaetano had "to jump" (did I mention that Gaetano was "well paid" ...?) So after Delia (did I mention that they were divorcing ...?) had to stand there on a random if prearranged street corner FOR TWO HOURS with the sun beating down on them and, inevitably, one the kids having to go to the bathroom (WHERE? EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED ...) waiting for Gaetano to FINALLY "show up" ... Delia wanted to make sure that "the summer was going to go ... well." Sigh.
"%$!S! you know my boss is an A-hole!" "Yes, I know he's an a-hole. But I was there standing with your two kids, a street corner for two hours, with one of the kids needing to go to the bathroom. [And let's face it, this is not the ONLY time when something like this -- okay, always somewhat different, but STILL something similar to this -- happened ...]"
The bulk of the 2/3 of the movie were then flashbacks to help us viewers understand how the two met, fell in love, had a family, mostly a happy one, and then, eventually, came to this point.
Gaetano, unsurprisingly, was always the more gregarious / "happier" one. In his 20s, he was still "in forma" something of an athlete. Delia, a child of divorce herself, with a quite attractive / rather gregarious mother (played in the film by Anna Galiena [IMDb] [FT.it]*) was always quieter, more reserved, and yes, tended to expect things to go more "badly" than many / most of the people around her. The two met "at a gym," where Delia worked as a carb / calorie counting (sports) nutritionist.
Opposites do attract. Gaetano who probably "could have found himself happy with anybody" (which actually of course "becomes a problem ..."), actually found Delia's seriousness / reservedness "refreshing" in comparison to the "happy, happy, happy" ever-smiling ethos of most of the people around him, including HIS ever-smiling, life-long, happily married parents (played by Marina Rocco [IMDb] [FT.it]* and Massimo Bonetti [IMDb] [FT.it]*) And for Delia, Gaetano was actually "kinda a catch" ... an attractive, ever-smiling, screenwriter, who "could have found anybody" but chose her. What could go wrong?
Well much of course ensues ... It becomes clear that as time when on the "oppositeness" of their approaches to life started to wear thin and both became ever-more entrenched in the rightness of their perspectives. What's there to hold a commitment together when one becomes increasingly convinced that one doesn't have anything left to learn from an/the Other?
That question, of course, sets one's attention to the title of the film.
The story does take a somewhat mystical turn, when Delia and Gaetano, having finished their dinner (and thankfully NOT having killed each other...) share a few words with an older couple that had been having dinner a few tables down from them. The older couple had been there celebrating a "big numbed anniversary" (perhaps their 40th). At the end of their somewhat brief conversation, where the two had already been reminded of a dinner they will never share together, the elderly man asks them: "Pray for me" (He was not well, expecting in the coming days to go to the doctor's, and not expecting particularly "good news.").
And the two were reminded of something else: Not only did they not necessarily have a place for each other in their lives anymore, they NEVER really had a place (NEITHER OF THEM) ... for God.
But ... "life goes on" ... sort of, why? to what end? and for how much longer?
A great, generally smiling, thought provoking film that "gives a punch" at the end :-) Good job! ;-)
* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser.
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