Caro diario | Chicago Reader

Caro diario

In his eighth feature (1994), European cult figure and comic Italian writer-director-performer Nanni Moretti offers a graceful, charming, funny, and intimate three-part film essay. The first part, “On My Vespa,” follows Moretti as he travels around Rome on his motorbike, visiting various neighborhoods (as well as a couple of movies) and ruminating on what he sees; the second chapter, “Islands,” has him touring a group of islands off the coast of Italy and Sicily with an intellectual friend, searching for a quiet place to do some work; and “Doctors,” the most straightforward and factual section, chronicles Moretti's visits to a string of doctors about a mysterious itching ailment and their conflicting diagnoses and prescriptions. For all the wayward digressions of this film (including some fascinating and hilarious notations about the role of television in contemporary Italy), the experience of the three parts is mysteriously and hauntingly unified, and one comes away with an indelible sense of having had human contact. 100 min.

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