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Well-to-do and sophisticated couple, Elsa and Michele, have a 20 year-old daughter, Alice, and enough money for Elsa to leave her job and fulfill an old dream of studying art history. After she graduates, however, their lives change. Michele confesses he hasn't worked in two months and was fired by the company he founded years ago. Elsa overcomes her initial shock by pouring extra energy into facing the crisis while Michele, exhausted by an unsuccessful job hunt, lets himself go, alternating between vivacity and apathy. The growing distance between them eventually leads to a break-up. Only when they part will they realize that they risk losing their most precious possession: the love that binds them. But in the end, will love conquer all?
By Eddie Cockrell
"Perceptively written, finely-played ..."
--Eddie Cockrell/ Variety - Review
The New York Sun
By Martin Tsai
"Fascinating...timely and relevant"
--Martin Tsai/ The New York Sun - Review
By David Noh
"[A] superb, moving and thought-provoking film…emotionally true and absorbing…the kind of film Hollywood should be making..."
--David Noh/ Film Journal - Review
National Public Radio
By Bob Mondello
--Bob Mondello/ NPR - Review
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Stephen Childress - Customer Review
Days and Clouds, a film by Silvio Soldini The title of Soldini's film foreshadows difficult times; the international economic downturn has reached even the sleepy Italian town of Genoa. Elsa, a fortyish married woman with a daughter that has recently started a small restaurant with her boyfriend, passes her doctoral examination. Her businessman husband, Michele, throws her a lavish surprise party at their sumptuous home overlooking the sea, and Elsa basks in the warmth of the houseful of well-off friends. Michele retreats to the privacy and security of the bathroom; the first cloud drifts in. Michele has lost his job as partner in a boating firm. Aggravating matters, he has not yet told Elsa for fear of disrupting, and possibly ruining, her demanding preparation for the Ph.D. exam. In addition, even though he hasn't been able to find suitable employment for two months, he has continued spending and living at a level that has drained their savings. The day after the graduation party he breaks the news; their economic situation is dire and they have to sell the house. Elsa reels as if struck. She feels betrayed that Michele has kept such a disastrous turn of events from her, and their relationship begins a slow descent. Elsa, though appearing to be lost in the intellectual world of academia— deeply engrossed in the study of 14th-century Italian painters—is eminently practical and without pretense; she immediately takes on low-paying jobs in order to pay the bills. But Michele, the businessman, is hamstrung by his pride; at first he turns down good, but lesser paying positions, and is slow to realize the severity of the situation. Eventually he is forced to face the bitter fact that there are no upper-level job openings in the worsening economy and the constricted job market of Genoa. They sell their home below value and move into a cheap, small apartment in a noisy block of flats, and their daughter leaves them to move in with her boyfriend. They stumble through events that whittle away at their marriage and self-respect, afraid to admit their circumstances to their wealthy friends, and in the process they reformulate their lives. Soldini's film starts with the 'exterior'—the economic situation—and closes it upon a family to examine the 'interior'. He forces the characters, who have never asked questions about things, to finally ask themselves, "What is the only thing which I don't want to lose?" Throughout the film, Soldini shows Elsa and her associates painstakingly uncovering a master fresco on the ceiling of a palace. It is a metaphor; slowly, Elsa has to forego the fresco in order to pay the rent, and as her situation worsens, her distance from the peripheral (an ancient painting) is replaced by the demands of the essential—her marriage and her friendships. On a parallel track, Michele's movement through the film is volatile, but reveals him to be charitable and caring, and capable of certain adjustments without losing his pride and vulnerability—which is his humanity. At the end of the film the clouds do not disperse, but they do thin enough to let in some light. 'Days and Clouds' is cathartic, and Silvio Soldini has mentioned that many people have come up to him and said that the film closely represented their experiences or those of people they knew. In difficult times, perhaps there is not more that we can ask of a movie.
Jeff In Seattle - Customer Review
This little gem from Film Movement shows the effect of a couple which suddenly lost its main source of income. We see Elsa and Michele trying to cope and make ends meet. In the process their relationship deteriorates. Once they see past their material wants/needs trying to maintain their lifestyle, they realize that their love for each other is more important. This situation pretty much reflect the current economic issues on a personal level in most western countries, including USA. This film could potentially have viewers facing similar relationship brought on the financial loss. A great job by director Silvio Soldini and actors Margherita Buy and Antonio Albanese! I have seen Margherita Buy in her previous films and she continues to impress me with her acting abilities.
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