Silvio Soldini’s film Days and Clouds takes the audience on a journey which mirrors the experiences that many people are facing at the moment – loss of income resulting in relationship problems and struggles with self esteem and identity.
Silvio Soldini’s film Days and Clouds takes the audience on a journey which mirrors the experiences that many people are facing at the moment – loss of income resulting in relationship problems and struggles with self esteem and identity. It focuses on a middle class Genovese couple, Michele (Antonio Albanese) and Elsa (Margarita Buy), who live in a beautiful apartment full of lovely paintings and statuary.
They go out often and Elsa, especially, wears wonderful clothess they have a maid, a late model car, a boat and a fine lifestyle. As the film opens, Elsa is just completing her PhD in Art Restoration. This is their high points from here on their lives slide downhill after Michele reveals he has not worked for two months and has not been paid for six.
The cinematography, the direction and the acting of the two leads are all very fine. Unfortunately, they are working within the confines of a story which lacks real interests it is just missing something. I found it difficult to engage with characters who were so unaware of their good fortune, and who fell apart so quickly and easily when faced with this admittedly very difficult situation.
Other relationships also suffers Michele and Elsa fall out with their daughter and her boyfriend, - well acted by Alba Rohrwacher and Giuseppe Battiston. Michele cannot reach his father (Arnaldo Ninchi) and Elsa is too ashamed to face her friend Nadia (Carla Signoris). They wallow on. Surely there was room for some humour in Days and Clouds? Most people find it a useful tool when things are going wrong. The movie becomes tedious. Elsa and Michele are simply too self absorbed, and spending over two hours in their company is really a big ask.
The story is ‘focused .... on only two characters ...(it is) the story of a couple almost in documentary form." says director Soldini, who sees it as a “‘reflection .......on values and on the loss of security." And this is what drives the narrative, harshly revealed through Elsa and Michele’s increasingly acrimonious arguments.
Interestingly the film was made prior to the global meltdown. Despite the fact that many others are now facing similar situations, the parallels with the film couple are not that strong, as most people who are going to lose their jobs will be in low paid positions. The target audience for the film is relatively small.
In the last scene Elsa states that she can ‘see only endless strain’ ahead and Michele agrees but they decide to face the future together. They have made it to the real world at last and are able to reconnect with honesty and directness. They begin to heal, as do their other damaged relationships. In demonstrating that going through adversity has matured and changed them into better people, the film achieves some credibility. Regrettably its tone made me feel as if I was being lectured and although the premise is a good one Days and Clouds needs more depth and humour to make it work.
Somerville Theatre, UWA, Crawley WAJoondalup Pines, ECU, Joondalup WA
9 – 15 Feb, 8.20pm