Unfolding almost as pantomime, with a minimum of plot, dialogue, or psychology, this wryly understated comic masterpiece by Otar Iosseliani follows a workingman whose daily routine from his home to the gate of a toxic chemical plant never varies until the morning he meets a former schoolmate who convinces him to follow his dreams. He abandons his self-absorbed family and hies himself to Venice with the blessings (and lire) of his reprobate father; his life doesn't change, but the scenery does, and in a Iosseliani film, background detail counts tremendously. The hero's odyssey functions as a pretext for a series of vignettes so that each passing figure sounds his own absurdist grace note, from the cur who spies on women at their toilettes to the director himself as an ersatz maestro. Though often compared to Tati, Iosseliani depends less on a central comic actor than on limpid compositions of collective portraiture, like the social canvases of Buñuel or early Jean Renoir. In French with subtitles. 120 min.