Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

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Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby hengcs » Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:18 am

Director: Gianni Amelio
Cast: Kim Rossi Stuart, Andrea Rossi, Charlotte Rampling

In the Venice Film Festival 2004, it garnered the
-- Pasinetti Award - Best Film
-- Pasinetti Award - Best Actor (Kim Rossi Stuart)
-- Sergio Trasatti Award - Gianni Amelio
-- 'CinemAvvenire' Award - Best Film

Expectedly, this film was Italy's submission to the Oscar in 2005.

What I like ...
-- Definitely the entire cast, they carried their roles very well. In particular, Kim Rossi Stuart and Charlotte Rampling displayed very controlled performance.
-- All the dialogues were so realistic, with a script that did not seek to be too melodramatic nor unbelievable. Instead, it told of very genuine thoughts and emotions ...

Yup, it had the potential to be very weepy ... but that was not the intent ... Instead, it tried to create mixed feelings in the audience (like the father) ... it had a mix of fun and upset ... it had a mix of hope and dismay ... it had a mix of serenity and anxiety ... etc
-- There were a few very good scenes,
e.g., ALL the conversations between the two adults
e.g., the therapy scene
e.g., the last scene with the father and the kid

What may be problematic ...
-- The trip to Norway was kind of lame ... Also, their choice of Germany over Italy for therapy was not well explained ...
-- As the film was not events driven, some audience might get bored after a while ...
-- Depending on individuals, some audience might also not feel much for the protagonists because the emotions were not uniformly sad throughout ...
-- The female character was not fully developed nor "ended" ...
-- Finally, although I did not think so, some might find the ending too abrupt ...

If you like a film with realistic character study, go for it.
If you prefer plot over characters, then do not bother ...

Re: Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby A » Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:22 pm

I wanted to see this film last month, so I went to the cinema, but guess what - the copy had been lost while shipping.
Luckily they had a smal Gianni Amelio retrospective at the time, so they showed Il ladro di bambini instead, which was great (it won Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 1992).
As it was my first introduction to Amelio's films, I'm looking forward to this. And any new film with Charlotte Rampling is interesting I guess, the guy I talked with before the screening, who said he came to see the movie because he had read about Mrs. Rampling being in it, must have been disappointed.

Re: Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby trevor826 » Thu Sep 29, 2005 9:41 pm

Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House - 2004 Italy)

I think most of us find it hard to watch a film where one of the central characters is severely disabled, just as in real life were unsure how to deal with it. Strange considering how many of us are more than happy to sit through a film concerning somebody dying of a disease like cancer, personally I find that even more difficult to deal with in reality.

I avoided this film in the cinema because I was concerned that it would be overloaded with sentimental melodramatics, playing the sympathy card, but Im glad to say that isnt the case. A simple tale of a father and his 15 year old son meeting and trying to connect for the first time since his birth, why the separation? Because the child is disabled? No, the truth comes out as the father opens up to the mother of a disabled girl receiving treatment in the same hospital, its because he associates his son with the loss of his partner who died during childbirth.

Guilt is just one of the stumbling blocks between father and son, 15 years is a hell of a long time to make up for, the anxiety of trying to make a relationship, find some sort of connection and learn to deal with the disability is at times overwhelming. As for the son, hes not out to punish his father or even to accept him as his father. To the son hospital and his disability is a way of life, a normality and one thing he tries to emphasise to his father is that he doesnt need or want sympathy, he needs his independence and goes out of his way to show it.

The mother of the disabled girl is played brilliantly by Charlotte Rampling, uncompromisingly honest in a way Im sure many parents of disabled children feel but can never bring themselves to actually say, there is a section where the camera stays unflinchingly on her face, nothing is said, no gestures are made but you can feel the pain and burden that she has ceaselessly carried for so many years.

The end worried me, was this going to be a film of the fathers redemption, would there be this exaggerated heart warming/churning display of familial forgiveness? Thankfully no, it stayed as honest as the rest of the film.

Recommended viewing, if you give it a miss, itll be your loss.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated PG

R2 Pal dvd released by Artificial Eye in the UK.

Re: Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:00 pm

KEYS TO THE HOUSE (Le Chiavi di Casa)

Directed by Gianni Amelio (2004)

"When we come to the last moment of this lifetime and we look back across it, the only thing that's going to matter is 'What is the quality of our love?" - Richard Bach

Raising children under normal circumstances requires patience, consistency, and lots of love. Raising a child with special needs requires even more of those attributes plus an infinite capacity to endure the pain of seeing your child suffer. Winner of the Best Picture Award at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, Keys to the House explores the path of a young father who abandoned his disabled son fifteen years ago and now seeks to redeem their relationship without fully comprehending what is expected of him. Loosely based on Giuseppe Pontiggia's 2000 novel Born Twice, Keys to the House is the latest film by Italian director Gianni Amelio (L'America, Stolen Children) who is known for his deeply humane portraits of conflicting relationships between generations.

Gianni (Kim Rossi Stuart), an appliance worker in his mid-thirties, lives with his wife and young son in Milan, Italy. Fifteen years ago, he fathered a handicapped boy named Paolo (Andrea Rossi) with a teenage girlfriend who died during childbirth. At the request of the boy's uncle (Pierfrancesco Favino) who raised Paolo, Gianni meets his son for the first time en route to a Berlin hospital where the boy is scheduled to undergo a new round of testing at a hospital for handicapped children. Paolo, now a teenager, has physical and mental challenges resulting from childbirth trauma and walks with the aid of a cane. The father-son reunion is fraught with difficulties and many awkward moments. In spite of his difficulties, Paolo is bright, fun loving, and full of charm but has mood swings and erratic mental patterns. Gianni is hesitant at first, uncertain how to react to his unpredictable behavior and stumbles when trying to help him dress or assist him in going to the bathroom.

Paolo, though trusting, views Gianni with some embarrassment and asks him to leave during some invasive hospital testing. At the hospital, Gianni meets another parent (Charlotte Rampling as Nicole) whose daughter Nadine (Alla Faerovich) is severely handicapped with Cerebral Palsy. Her empathy and wisdom help him come to terms with the guilt he feels for having abandoned his son and increases his awareness of the difficulties involved in raising a handicapped child. When the hospital therapists push Paolo to the point of exhaustion with their exacting regimen, Gianni instinctively removes him and takes him on a road trip to Norway in hopes of meeting a young girl Paolo knows only through an exchange of photos. On the journey back, Gianni comes face to face with the true requirements of his commitment to Paolo and the result is deeply moving.

Keys to the House is an involving drama about the difficulties involved in taking responsibility for past mistakes and developing the inner strength to cope with the results. The acting is uniformly outstanding, especially that of Andrea Rossi, a young Italian actor with Muscular Dystrophy, who brings Paolo fully to life. Though some elements of the plot are puzzling, Keys to the House is not about plot but about feelings and relationships. It is a courageous film that sparkles with authenticity and tenderness. It avoids easy consolations and trite solutions, challenging us to confront our limitations, particularly our inability to always be the person our children need us to be. While Keys to the House may not be Amelio's best film, it is his most emotionally compelling and fully establishes him as being in the very front rank of contemporary directors.


Re: Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:02 pm

About the Norway sequence, it does seem a bit lame but Manohla Dargis speculated in the New York Times that he put it in because one of the production companies was Norwegian. It seems to me perhaps that the girl wasn't real and that they both knew it but used her picture as a reason to go on the road together and bond. Otherwise, it certainly is strange that they would not have known there was no school on Sunday or that they would not have waited another day.

Regardless, it's a very lovely film.


Re: Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby A » Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:45 pm

Have deleted the other thread (by request ).
And my own words also, as I noticed that I had almost exactly repeated, what I had typed in an earlier post (see above)

Re: Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby A » Wed Nov 29, 2006 5:35 pm

Don't have much to add to the comments, except that i agree with most that has been stated, and urge everybody to watch this film.

About the Norway sequence. I found it wonderful, and it is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. I think that the girl was real, but that both didn't know where she lived and that Paolo didn't have any real contact to her. As was often the case with him, he didn't care much for the dividing line between fiction and reality, as we can see in his daydreams that take on a concrete shape and existence for him. The journey was purposefully made on a Sunday, and they just went to some shool there. Th point of it was imo, that Paolo tries something to come closer to his dreams/hopes without being rejected (Imagine a scene were he actually meets the teenage girl... probably wouldn't have helped his self-esteem). This journey and the rest of the scene can be seen as the breakthrough in the relationship of father and son, because the father enters and accepts the world of Paolo, while still trying to alter it. This journey will probably stay in Paolo's mind as a visit to his girlfriend, and meeting her isn't the point here (Paolo also doesn't want to meet her, and has no problems leaving again). They leave symbolically the cake for her.
For me this is the closest sequence to the "magical realism" (or even surrealism) you can find for example in Fellini. Contrasted with the confession-scene by Rampling at the train station this makes for a wide range of expression.
"Stolen Children" (1992) is full of such "absurd" events, and one of the main reasons why I loved it.

I know that I wrote earlier somewhere on the board that I'm glad Le conseguenze dell'amore (2004) won the David di Donatello in 2005, but after watching this film I have to change my opinion.

Re: Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Wed Nov 29, 2006 5:50 pm

Thanks for your comment. It makes a lot of sense but it is a stretch for me to believe that they just went to any school. How would they know how to find just any school? Everything else you say about the incident is quite plausible and very insigthful, however.

Re: Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby A » Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:51 pm

Well, every larger city has a school I think. Maybe they even went to the town were the "girl-friend" lived, and it was her school. I think this isn't important for what the film wants to tell, and it also makes the scene more fun. When "Gianni" goes "to look for her" and he is watching the biathlon team, I find the contrast between their speed and Paolo's handicap startling. We are also guessing all of the time if one of the girls might be her.
The "girl-friend" is an emblem for Paolo's desires and what will probably become a big problem when he gets older. I like the scene where Gianni comments on Paolo being a teenager and not a kid earlier in the film. Thus it's not important who the girl is, imo.

What i also appreciate is the fact that the film's flawed protagonist has the same name as the director. I always appreciate these little touches (as well as the dedication at the beginning of the movie).

Re: Le Chiavi Di Casa (The Keys to the House) (2004) (Italy)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:59 pm

Very intelligent analysis. Thanks very much for providing a larger perspective.

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