The Dinner [I Nostri Ragazzi] Italy DARE Section
Based, very loosely, on the novel by Herman Koch, this film explores the dilemma facing parents in contemporary Italy and indeed the world. Having added a scene of inexplicable violence at the beginning of the film, we meet the protagonists – professional brothers, one an attorney (avvocato) and one a paediatric surgeon. The doctor just happens to be treating the little boy who was accidentally injured by a ricochetting bullet in the first scene, the attorney is defending the man who fired the gun.
As a regular night out, the couples meet at an expensive restaurant, their respective daughter and son are at home, the cousins though have a thing going on for them on the internet, we don’t see precisely what it is but it appears to be uploaded videos of acts of unprovoked violence, but apart from that they appear ordinary, dull and normal.
However, that is not the end of the story and the tension mounts as it becomes clear that there is a lack of communication between the parents and their children, between each other and between the brothers. It is clear from the start that the older of the two men has a new wife, not liked much by her sister-in-law; there is quite obviously some sibling rivalry even though these two are middle-aged and seemingly personally successful.
One night, however, something happens that makes everyone take stock. This powerful psychological drama by Ivan de Matteo explodes with tension, high-octane emotion and complex familial loyalties play out, as the parents face a moral dilemma, they meet once again in the same restaurant. The message the film carries works on many levels depending on whether you view it as a parent, a teacher or a young adult.
There was also a short film from the Italian archive called Tubiolo and the Moon [Tubiolo e la luna] In a remote Italian village far away a little boy dreams of going to the moon.