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Aprile Review

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Filmmaker Nanni Moretti's cinema diary about Italian politics and the impending birth of his son.

★★★★★

This is a droll follow-up of sorts to Moretti's award-winning Dear Diary, in which he pottered around Rome on his scooter musing about the city's buildings and Jennifer Beals out of Flashdance. Here, his fixations are the dismal state of Italian politics, his inability to make movies and impending fatherhood. It's similarly presented as a personal journal, but he only briefly hops astride his Vespa.

Events kick off with the Italian general election of 1994 with the leftie Moretti getting in a stew about the victory of right-wing media mogul Silvio Berlusconi. He then starts making a musical about a pastry chef, which he soon abandons. As time wears on, he becomes increasingly neurotic about his partner Silvia's pregnancy. Another round of elections looms, compelling him to shoot a documentary, and there are further gripes, this time about the inadequacies of the left. Smirk-inducing stuff, unless you find Italian government factionalism or the joys of fatherhood a real turn-off.

In between, Moretti slips in reviews of the latest film releases. At one point, he's up all night quoting lines from Strange Days, which he rates as "a piece of shit". It's the kind of absurd detail at which he excels, and his eccentric passions keep the film rolling (there's a memorable scene of him at Speaker's Corner reading out dozens of letters he wrote, but never sent, to political parties back home).

This is a quirky home movie, punctuated with bouts of philosophising. But Moretti isn't always the cuddliest of hosts and it lacks the charm of Dear Diary. Nifty Latin soundtrack though.