Film review – Quiet Chaos (2008)

22 May 2009
Pietro Paladini (Nanni Moretti) and Claudia Paladini (Blu Yoshimi)

Pietro Paladini (Nanni Moretti) and Claudia Paladini (Blu Yoshimi)

This Italian hit from 2008 is a difficult film to describe. Calling it an art-house feel-good film is probably the best way to categorise it but such a label really doesn’t do justice to this gently moving and understated film about moving on after tragedy, family and simply being human. Quiet Chaos (Caos calmo) is the perfect title as it embodies the idea of its lead character Pietro Paladini being the calm centre of the storm amid the chaos that is modern life. The film opens with a monumental incident of irony where Pietro’s visit to the beach with his brother is prolonged when they find themselves the only people who are willing and able to save a pair of drowning women. This unthanked for act of unintentional heroism means that Pietro does not get home in time to be with his wife who suddenly dies after collapsing. However instead of raging at the cruelty of his fate, Pietro goes into a strange state of shock, adopting a sad and wise serenity. Becoming more attached to his young daughter than ever Pietro begins to spend his days in the park opposite her primary school waiting for her to finish her school day. Over a number of weeks various neighbouring strangers and worried work colleagues begin to regularly visit Pietro in the park and they increasingly rely on him for advice, sympathy and understanding.

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