3 things to know about Tre Piani, Nanni Moretti’s latest film unfairly shunned in Cannes

In Cannes last spring, Nanni Moretti presented his thirteenth feature film in official completion. If the Italian director did not win a second Palme d’Or – which he obtained in 2001 for The son’s room – his film was however one of the most anticipated of the festival. Here are three things to know about the 68-year-old filmmaker’s latest film.

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Extract from Tre Piani by Nanni Moretti.

1. Tre Piani is adapted from a romanot

For this film, Nanni Moretti adapted the literary masterpiece Three floors by Israeli writer Eshkol Nevo [Gallimard, 2018]. After his film Mia Madre in 2015, Nanni Moretti was out of inspiration. His faithful co-writer, Federica Pontremoli, advised him to read this novel. Seduced by this incredible intrigue, Nanni Moretti then decides to adapt it. He contacts Eshkol Nevo to get his agreement. When the Israeli receives an email from one of his favorite directors, he first believes in a sham. Even though he admires Mass is over (1985) where Personal diary (1993), the writer is cautious and hesitant because the previous adaptations of his films have left him with a bitter taste. After some discussions with the Italian, Eshkol Nevo gives up his rights. He nevertheless refuses to participate in the writing of the scenario as in the choices of the actors. Nanni Moretti fully appropriates this story by erasing references to Israeli political events. Based on the succession of three independent stories, Nanni Moretti breaks the structure of the novel by interweaving the plots in order to breathe more lightness into these tragic tales.

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Extract from Tre Piani by Nanni Moretti.

2. A first adaptation for Nanni Moretti

If he has embodied exuberant alter egos since the 1970s, the Roman has never adapted a novel or a play for the cinema. If at the age of 20, he dreamed of adapting the novel The conspiracy (1938) by Paul Nizan, he had never tried such an exercise. Nanni Moretti usually writes each of the storylines of her films that are inspired by her personal life, as doesAprile (1998) where he plays a young man concerned about the birth of his son and the legislative elections in Italy. When he is not playing professional actors, Nanni Moretti plays with his own family, like his mother in Aprile (1998) and his father in Ecce Bombo (1978). Bringing together a fully professional cast, Tre Piani seems to evacuate all references to the life of the filmmaker while remaining, for once, strictly fictional. In Tre Piani, Nanni Moretti plays there this time an old judge, dry and severe, who refuses to forgive a youthful mistake to his son. But perhaps this is, once again, a disguised allusion to his own past?

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Extract from Tre Piani by Nanni Moretti.

3. The poster already reveals the plot

Nanni Moretti’s film posters are among the most beautiful in European cinema. French poster of Tre Piani is no exception to the rule. Signed by the Parisian design agency Sentenza, the poster works like a rebus. The design, with simple and naive contours, represents the Roman building where the three families live. In a street away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the building becomes the small theater of the lives of these three clans. On the poster, all the characters are gathered in front of the building, but the background is even more interesting. On the red brick facade with large, lighted windows, clues about the plot have been scattered. On the left, a car sunk into a broken wall leaves a bad omen… Each of the details, hidden in the four corners of the poster, constitutes one of the elements of the plot. And this is the genius of Nanni Moretti: nothing is ever left to chance.

Tre Piani, by Nanni Moretti, currently in theaters.

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3 things to know about Tre Piani, Nanni Moretti’s latest film unfairly shunned in Cannes