Caro Diario (1993) (Unrated)
"Caro Diario" or "Dear Diary" is a movie in three parts with three genres and a portfolio of emotions. It could real like a résumé of sorts from Nanni Moretti, who blends and shakes up the scenes so that we're not really sure what we're watching anymore.
It begins with humor, as Nanni—as himself, the meta-feeling the film inspires is incredibly strong since we're not sure how much is diary-inspired and how much is fiction—riding his Vespa around Italy looking at the houses. He makes the comment that in the summertime, there's not very many movies to see in the theaters and he rather enjoys looking at houses instead. He rides through the city, and the camera takes note of all the architecture and the roads as Nanni makes commentary on the state of the films 'nowadays'. He finds himself going to a theater to see "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" which he absolutely hates to the point where he stalks the critic who wrote a good review about it.
Here, we can see Woody Allen superimposed on Nanni Moretti, because their choices in direction do not stray far from each other. In "Annie Hall", Allen gave all sorts of these cutaway moment and "Caro Diario" does the same thing. This is what gives it its charm and its humor.
The first part of the movie concerns Nanni on his Vespa and the second part, Nanni trying to finish his project. I think a large part of these scenes' success is the movies quirky score. It balances between sentimental and hilarious.
Yet this is a movie that you can't simply ignore. Its moments are carefully timed and each chapter carries over some thought from the previous, whether that is some odd self-deprecational humor about how easy it is to make a shitty film, or whether that's the simply presence of a Charlie Kaufman-like society where couples only have one kid and thus can't call each other on the phone anymore. Each passing second is measured. Only the finished work can really express Moretti's vision.
Of course, then we have the final chapter, in which all pretenses melt away and the autobiographical fallacy becomes a truth. Moretti paints himself as a man given to disease, finding the darkest possible way to sneak humor into his own story.
Here, I have to be reminded of "Hannah and Her Sisters" and the scenes when Woody Allen is in doctors' office, convinced that he has some sort of incurable disease. Yet Moretti is no Allen, because the viewer thinks that his symptoms are real while Allen is just being neurotic.
The film balances between different types of emotions throughout its vastly different story lines. Some fictional, some fact, some referential, and some just mad.
"Caro Diary" is the end result of many, many quick moments, blurred emotions, deep thoughts, and quirky songs. While I think that it would merit a second viewing, I find that I cannot truly do the film justice because of its uniqueness. A hipster movie to be sure, "Caro Diario" proves Moretti's talent while also somehow making us want to stand ten feet away from him and just watch him slowly lose his mind all for our enjoyment.
It's almost disturbing how well this works.
Posted by Micah Jones