Nicola Garofalo, Maria Cristina Blu, Giulia Morgani, Alberto Tordi, Luca Guastini, Pino Torcasio, Elisabetta Dursi, Bruno Rochette, Diego Bottiglieri, Sébastien Bidault, Ludovica Sistopaoli, Isabelle Noérie, Gwendal Audrain, Desireé Olmi, Elisabetta Fusari, Delphine Sartiaux, Zakia Allel, Lola Lustrini, Aurélia Baraldo, Isabelle Noérie, Giovanni Costantino, Sonja Hannelore Mainieri
DCP - colour & b/w
Rome, the present day. The country is in the midst of an economic crisis: the threat of bankruptcy has partly
been forestalled, but Italy is still on its knees. Freddy Angi, a 43 year-old writer, is experiencing a crisis of his
own – financial as well as personal. In debt and hardship, he is gently sliding towards disintegration and is on
the verge of becoming an alcoholic. Freddy's loneliness is an existential one, a malaise, since he actually
has many personal and affective ties: not just with his wife and children, but also with friends and
acquaintances. Freddy is surrounded by a wide array of female figures. Homeless, he entertains strange
amorous relations, including with his wife Anna – a complex yet profound relationship. The two meet now
and then as lovers in Freddy's temporary lodgings, although months have passed since they stopped living
together. While de facto separated, their connection actually seems stronger and closer than any traditional
cohabitation. Anna is a rational woman who is very efficient in her work and concerned with concrete
matters. Freddy, by contrast, is a misfit: someone with a clear mind when it comes to existential questions,
but who is to some extent a defaulting outcast. At his wits' end, since he cannot find a place, Freddy plans a
trip – a flight to “elsewhere”, in the hope of finding a new setting and starting point. This utopia, this useless
gesture, is still as necessary as any utopia. This movement towards “elsewhere” is a genuine need for
Freddy: a way for him to put himself, his life and even his feelings to the test again. Freddy solves a few
practical matters and prepares to leave his world of friendships and attachments behind. A short plane
journey catapults him into Bucharest. The reason why Freddy chooses to go to Romania is not quite clear.
Bucharest, the present day. The economic crisis takes a different form here, at least compared to the way it is perceived in Rome. Although Romania is experiencing considerable growth and does not lie at the centre of the financial storm, poverty is part of its history. The very moment Freddy has found some accommodation in Bucharest – in a hotel, as usual – his agent phones him and informs him that he has found a French publisher interested in publishing his novel. This is good news only from an economic perspective, since Freddy does not really care much about the novel – which he wrote on commission under a nom de plume – and is clearly working now on something new. Paris, the present day. The atmosphere is less oppressive than in Italy and less rarefied than in Romania.
Everything seems quite normal, although this may only be an impression. Freddy and other characters from the film almost run into one another in this big city, without ever meeting. Each is there to settle some important matter that stretches back into the past. Freddy meets the publisher Bertrand Guérin and signs the contract for the publication of his novel. Elena, Freddy's young lover, meets her natural father, who turns out to be Freddy's French publisher. Halima, a mysterious emigrant who has landed on the Italian shores – like many other illegal immigrants – unexpectedly speaks out as a woman who no longer wishes to wear a headscarf.
Leaving Paris, Freddy returns to Bucharest. During yet another sleepless night, intoxicated with alcohol and tobacco, he passes out on the floor. For a few days, no one knows where he may have gone. While in Rome and Paris the lives of the other characters come to a head, the doctors of the emergency ward in Bucharest inform Freddy about the condition of his health. They advise him to change lifestyle and look after himself. Freddy's bad habits and malaise are turning into a real disease. Yet, his words and behaviour suggest something more: that ultimately life itself is a deadly disease. Discharged from hospital, Freddy roams the city and stops in front of a monument, a very tall statue of an angel. He takes some notes and continues his work as though nothing had happened: almost a metaphor for modern man, who can never stop. As evening once again falls upon his hotel room in Bucharest, Freddy stares into the mirror with a stern look in his eyes; he throws the his cigarettes and liqueur bottles away, the objective causes of his physical and emotional ill-being. He lies on the bed and closes his eyes. The epilogue thus begins, with Freddy's recurrent dream: a skater who after a few spins stops fleeing. The film ends with a flight among the clouds: the typical view you get when sitting at a window seat on a plane, as in the opening scenes of the film. We have no way of knowing whether Freddy is returning to Italy or continuing his flight; in a way, it does not really matter, since what we have seen is just a film.