Mario Martone’s latest film is the International Feature submission for Italy this year. The film is centred around Felice Lasco, who left his childhood home of Naples at the age of 15 after a terrible incident which happened with his best friend at the time, Oreste. After fleeing to Lebanon he has made Cairo his permanent home, along with getting married and owning his construction business.
When he finds out that his mother is extremely sick, Felipe makes the journey back to the beautiful Italian city. He hasn’t been home in over 40 years. He finds his mother to be extremely frail and weak. She can’t read anymore. She can’t change her clothes or take showers anymore either. The neighbourhood where she lives, called La Sanita, isn’t the safest place either, so Felice is determined to find a new home for both of them.
After finally finding a new two-story apartment outside the neighbourhood, his mother passes away suddenly. “From today your mother will live in you,” tells the family priest to Felice. But instead of heading home, he begins to get nostalgia as the neighbourhood hasn’t changed much and he starts to remember his childhood and the experiences he had as a teenager.
But not everyone is happy to have him back.
Mario Martone has created a gorgeous ode to Naples. The beautiful long streets, along with the apartments all lined up together. The cafes on every corner. The city lights shining at night. It makes us wish we were there. Pierfrancesco Favino gives a wonderful, subtle and complex performance. Nostalgia is a journey back to origins and to memories. It’s about re-connecting with loved ones, family and friends. It’s about remembering the past and perhaps creating new memories for the future. It’s about going back in life, not to change anything but to feel a few things twice. Nostalgia is also the painful realization that things can never be exactly the same as they were in the past.