Sweet Dreams is the first movie directed by Marco Bellocchio not based on a director’s script.
This is the real story of Italian journalist Massimo Gramellini and it’s adapted from Gramellini’s 2012 novel Sweet Dreams, Little One.
On screen outstanding actor Valerio Mastandrea is Massimo, while another great Italian actor, Guido Caprino ( Medici: Masters of Florence) is his father.
Gramellini is a Turin journalist who now is a columnist on the front page of Italian most important newspaper La Stampa. But, in the past, he worked also as sport (football) writer and as war correspondent from Bosnia in the 90’s.
Gramellini lost his mum very young and he discovered the truth about her death after many years. He was very found of her so this loss caused a constant grief for his all life. The only thing that Massimo shared with his father was the passion for one of the two football club of Turin, the garnet red one, Turin.
One of the most touching scene in Sweet Dreams, by sheer chance, is the encounter , after many years, between Massimo and his father on the Turin hill of Superga a May 4th.
On May 4th 1949, The Great Turin, one of the greatest football team of the time, died like happened to the Manchester United nine years later, in a plane crush hitting the Superga Basilica in a foggy night. Every year, Turin fans and players walk together to the Basilica to honor that team memory.
Sweet Dreams, the words Massimo’s mum used to say to him at bed time, follows Gramellini’s life from just before the tragedy till his recent years.
The first 10 minutes of the movie are set to make the audience to understand how deep was his relationship with his mum. A 8/9 year-old Massimo (wonderful Nicolò Cabras) dances the Twix with his mum (Barbara Ronchi). Then he spies her while she’s gluing pictures of her idols (like Italian singer Gianni Morandi) in a photobook. And in the evening they watch together the 1965 Belphégor with Massimo reassuring his scared mum in a protective hug.
Shortly after, she is gone, she is an angel now and from now on, Massimo start to ask Belphégor help anytime he needs help or just a suggestion.
We move forward and we have Massimo (Dario Del Pero) in his teen-years hanging out with his rich schoolmate Enrico (Dylan Ferrario) and showing us all his pain in looking to his friend too-physical embrace with his mum (Emanuelle Devos).
All these scenes from Massimo childhood are interweaved with his adult life in the 90’s where Massimo (Valerio Mastandrea) is still struggling with his mother loss.
In the due to stay as much as possible stick to the novel, Bellocchio looses in these movie those distinguishing marks that made him so loved outside his country.
Some extraordinary sequences, as the Superga one, are too Italian to make a foreign audience able to understand them…and it’s a pity because this is a wonderful family-drama that deserved so much more attention in and outside his country.
“I learned how to defend myself. I grew up”
UK release: 24th February 2017 Italy release: 13th November 2016