Nanni Moretti

The Son's Room

Interviewed by James Mottram

How did "The Son's Room" come about?

It's been several years now since I first had this idea to write the part of a psychoanalyst, to act that part, and actually be a psychoanalyst for a period of time. At a second stage, I had the idea of using a terrible, painful experience that divides people who love each other, because there is this commonplace, conventional wisdom that says pain creates solidarity and unites people. I wanted to show a situation in which the opposite was the case - pain and suffering separates people. Another starting point was the examination of a person who is in daily contact with other people's suffering, what happens when that person is subjected to the most dreadful pain?

Was it difficult that the shoot stretched out over a number of months?

There were three moments when shooting was interrupted for different reasons. One, because I wasn't well and I had to suspend things for a few weeks. Two, there was a period when the film workers' contracts had to be renewed, and there were strikes which caused an upheaval. And then there was the Christmas holidays!

How did you hope to portray grief on screen?

I didn't want to impose on the audience any easy solutions or events that would be specifically aimed at causing an emotional response. I rather wanted to share the experience with the audience. Anybody who sees the film will see that - there is a sharing, other than anything imposed. Compared to other films of mine, where I've made other stylistic choices, in this case I wanted to go for realism. But given that I was making a film about this subject, I didn't want to avoid showing scenes like the one that takes place in the funeral parlour.