Cannes 74: ‘Three Floors’ Review
3 Piani, 2 stars, 1 Review
The carousel of disappointment does not seem to slow down at Cannes 74. After Paul Verhoeven and Sean Penn’ s dissatisfactory competition entries, Nanni Moretti joins the letdown club with his long-awaited Tre Piani. His stories of three families going through different crises, and living on three floors of the same Roman building, is badly patched together. The best feature of the movie is its structure, but considering it is based on the homonymous bestselling novel, Moretti is not entitled to take credit for that either (if not for picking a good piece of literature).
The adaptation results in a dialogue-heavy approach, sounding insubstantially fictitious and forced into the actors’ mouths. The style is totally uncinematic, although it miserably tries to, with TV-like cuts and thoughtless close-ups, and built up plot twists revealed with the intensity of a soap opera. Fast-forwarding 5 years at a time, nobody seems to age. I’m not sure why they were so cheap on makeup, but I was expecting a wrinkle or two after 10 years. Worth mentioning also are a ridiculous fight sequence less realistic than CGI’ed Robert De Niro beating people up in The Irishman, and a couple of uncomfortable sex scenes which were presumably aiming to be sensual rather than just plain awkward. I never missed Abbas Kiarostami more than while watching Tre Piani.
Let’s be honest and stop praising child actors just because of their tender age. Showbiz is a tough world, and these little people better learn this sooner than later. The film is dysfunctional on many levels, but the children’s dreadful performances are among the main reasons responsible for dragging it into the abyss of obscenity. It feels like a school play with the worst kids of the class. The adults are awful too, though, sometimes even laughably over the top. The best performer is easily the baby, who succeeds in portraying a toddler.
The last nail in the coffin is the totally random and up in-your-face political message, just to make sure Moretti’s usual electoral audience will praise the movie, if not for its merits. A refugee help centre is stormed by a racist riot, with the bigots throwing right-wing slogans at the screen in an outburst of evilness while tormenting the poor immigrants, who don’t come back and don’t play a role in the film. What a cheap way to be cinematically political.
Nanni Moretti has a small independent cinema in Rome. It’s called the Nuovo Sacher. It’s a pretty cinema, with comfy chairs and good programming. I wish he’d just run that for now. As the film premiered, Italy won the European football league. Kiarostami almighty, wherever you may be, don’t let them nab the Palme d’Or too.