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Discovering Nanni Moretti's Comedy Masterpiece: A Brighter Tomorrow at Cannes

"It's a film about cinema."

This is the tenth film by Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti to be included in the official competition at Cannes. "A Brighter Tomorrow" (Il Sol Dell'avvenire) is his new comedy that he co-produces, co-writes, directs, and stars in, portraying a prolific filmmaker on the verge of collapse.

The title of this feature film takes the name of the film that its protagonist is shooting, set in 1956.

Giovanni, a director in crisis, is dealing with his French producer, who is on the brink of bankruptcy and also his wife, and plans to leave him, along with his daughter who abandons him. It's a moment to reconsider how things are done and confront them in order to envision a better future. Moretti says that his film is "the story of a filmmaker whose life has always been in sync with cinema, and films have always been a part of his own life."

"A Brighter Tomorrow" takes place at a time when the Soviet Union invades Hungary, so the title also refers, according to Charlotte Pavard of Cannes, to a verse from the song "The Wind Blows," a popular theme of the Italian resistance movement, and in her opinion, it works as a great metaphor for the desire to move forward even when the odds are against you. Giovanni is a determined director and, above all, convinced of the project he has in his hands. Conflict arises when his lead actor challenges him, considering that the director is making a love film rather than the political film he had initially proposed. Meanwhile, his wife is preparing to produce a film by a young promising filmmaker, which is not Giovanni's.

For Moretti, "even though the world around him is increasingly difficult to decipher and accept, Giovanni doesn't want to surrender to a disappointing reality, and above all, he doesn't want to give up on the dream of being able to change it. And if life and history won't allow it, cinema, which through its strength and contagious energy transforms reality and makes the dream possible, will allow it." The Italian director says that in this comedy, the empty spaces left by life are fulfilled through cinema. "The film goes through different crises and then overcomes them thanks to cinema, which has the magical power to make us rediscover lightness and the desire to be happy." The production Giovanni is filming is an adaptation of the short story "The Swimmer" (1964) by American author John Cheever.

With this comedy, Nanni Moretti participates for the tenth time in the Cannes Film Festival. The first time was in 1978 when he brought "Ecce Bombo" to the official competition, and it was not until 2001 that he won the Palme d'Or for "The Son's Room."

Reactions from Cannes

Despite Moretti's good intentions with this comedy that references cinema and its potential to heal wounds and fulfill dreams, the press has written harsh comments. The problem, according to critic Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, is that the film is "full of anti-comedy and anti-drama and is a complete waste of time." For Playlist, what happens is that it is a "messy meta-comedy about cinema." Deadline clarifies that "unfortunately, the initial momentum doesn't really hold, and Moretti's film soon becomes aimless, sliding into surrealism with a dream sequence involving the young Giovanni and Paola that doesn't really seem to fit anywhere."

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