A PERFECT DAY/UN GIORNO PERFETTO is a methodically told, well acted Italian drama that tries to explore the psychology of domestic violence. Director Ferzan Ozpetek opens with the police being called to the apartment of one of their own - a cop called Antonio who works as the bodyguard of an MP. After this framing device we move back 24 hours to see the events leading up to the gun-shots.
Valerio Mastandrea gives a superb performance as Antonio, the cop, driven mad with rage when his abused wife Emma (Isabella Ferrari) finally takes their two children and leaves him. It is testament to the nuances of his performances that the audience can feel sympathy for such a brutal man. Isabella Ferrari is also very convincing in an award-winning performance as the put-upon wife, dressing younger than her age, overlooked by life, unable to take on any more problems. The sub-plot sees Antonio's employer, an MP, losing power and his young wife tempted into leaving him for his son by an earlier marriage.
The central story - based on a novel by Melania Gaia Mazzucco - is powerful and handles a difficult subject with understanding and fine balance. However, the romantic sub-plot reeks of daytime TV soap opera. Nonetheless, insofar as the bulk of the movie is an intelligent adult drama, and such intelligence is rarely seen on our screens, this movie is still worth seeking out.
A PERCECT DAY played London, Toronto and Venice 2008 where Isabella Ferrari won the Pasinetti Award for Best Actress. It opened earlier this year in Italy and opens next week in Turkey.