Days and Clouds (Giorni e Nuvole)
With global economies in
the midst of some of the worst recessions in decades, particularly for the
middle class, the Italian drama Days and Clouds could not be more
Michele (Antonio Albanese)
and Elsa (Margherita Buy) appear to be the perfect couple. He is
co-owner of a local company. She is finishing her education in the
fine arts, and is working in an old church to help restore a historic roof
painting which had been covered up in the generations since it was made.
The couple has a lovely
home in Genoa, a sweet 20-year-old daughter (Alba Rohrwacher) who is opening
her own restaurant with dad's financial help, they travel often and have
their own boat. Michele throws a huge bash at their home to celebrate
her graduation. The next morning, when Elsa wakes up, her whole life
comes crumbling down around her.
Her husband has to admit to
her that he has been forced out of his own company and he hasn't worked in
months. They have to sell their house and get a smaller apartment to
survive until he can find a new job. They currently have enough money
to keep them going about five months - and then they will be broke.
Michele is somewhat
delusional and tries to downplay the whole thing. Elsa asks him,
reasonably, if they were going broke why would they have thrown a huge
catered party for all of their friends, including a five piece band.
He just yells defensively that it was a last fling.
In fact, Michele is just a
bit of a smug snob. He looks down on their daughter because she
dropped out of university to open a restaurant (he dismissively refers to
her as a waitress.) He lost his part of the partnership because he
refused to consider changing the business with the times. He insists
on paying for everyone's meals even though he can't afford it - for
However, even when he
doesn't always deserve sympathy, there is a certain familiar tragedy to a
man who is used to caring for his family suddenly realizing that he can no
longer provide. His wife - who has apparently been wearing blinders
through much of their relationship - pitches in and takes two menial jobs,
giving up her dream position because it did not pay.
This is a common disaster
and there is a certain bleak fascination in watching a long-time
relationship bend and maybe break due to economic realities. Sadly, it
is all too frequent an occurence.
Days and Clouds
works on several levels. It is a journey of self-discovery. It's
a love story. It's a family drama. It's often surprisingly funny
in the midst of hardship. Most of all, though, it is a sobering look
at the disappearance of the middle class in modern society.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: May 31, 2008.