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Sweet Dreams
(Fai Bei Sogni)

Marco Bellocchio

Veteran Italian filmmaker Marco Bellocchio (Vincere, Blood of My Blood) adapts Massimo Gramellini’s autobiographical novel for the big screen, creating a deeply personal story of family intrigue and deep rooted trauma.

Sweet Dreams opens in the 1960s when the carefree little Massimo (Nicolò Cabras) is living with his vibrant but clearly troubled mother (Barbara Ronchi). When his young life is changed by her sudden death, Massimo’s distant father (Guido Caprino) offers no explanation or support. As Massimo grows up and becomes a journalist (now played by Valerio Mastandrea), he is tortured by unanswered questions from his past. Filling the void with every assignment he is offered – sports, the war in Bosnia, an advice column – Massimo has reached middle age without any clear sense of what is driving his relentless search for fulfilment.

Memory is a key theme in Sweet Dreams, as Massimo struggles to break free from the trauma of his past. Bellocchio and his cinematographer Daniele Cipri structure the film in such a way that hazy scenes of what their protagonist can remember sit carefully alongside his present day confusion. Despite its subject matter of love and loss, the film deftly avoids melodrama in a way that only a master like Bellocchio can achieve.