Three Floors

Thoroughly enjoyable slice of life in the neighbourhood. Three Floors basically focuses on the lives of several families who share a close. It tracks their ups and downs over a decade.

The film opens with heavily pregnant Monica, who lives on the first floor, trying to phone for a taxi as she goes into labour, and walking along the road outside the building. Out the darkness comes a car, driven by Andrea, the son of the judges who live on the top floor. It’s going way too fast, swerves to miss Monica, mows down an innocent woman crossing the road behind her, and ploughs into the ground floor apartment of the building, stopping just short of the little girl, Francesca who lives there.

Andrea is drunk, and has no idea what he’s done. His mother, Dora, tries to comfort him, while his father, Vittorio, tries to help the woman he’s hit. They come away with very different attitudes towards the event. His mother believes it’s her duty to look after her son, and fight his corner no matter what the cause. His father tells him flat out, you were drunk, you killed that woman, you’re going to jail, and you deserve it.

Andrea is undeniably irresponsible, selfish, and violent. He has a toxic dynamic with his father, where his rigid morality and sense of disappointment in his son has hardened and formed a resolved contempt. However this has impacted Andrea growing up, he is now an adult who can’t accept the blame for anything. The accident isn’t his fault. His anger and attacks aren’t his fault. All he ever looks for is a way out of the consequences.

Down on the ground floor, Francesca’s father, Lucio, asks their neighbours across the way to look after her while they deal with the fallout of the bloody great hole in their wall. Their neighbours, Giovanna and Renato, are like grandparents to Francesca, the old man loves giving her horsey rides and getting a peck on the cheek when she visits. He’s starting to lose his marbles a bit, but Francesca loves spending time there. On one occasion, Lucio drops her off without Giovanna being there, and Renato and Francesca go missing. When Lucio finally finds them, Renato has fallen and wet himself in the park, and Francesca is sitting with his head in her lap, stroking his hair as he cries. Despite Francesca saying the Renato simply became confused and got lost, Lucio becomes convinced she was sexually assaulted by him. This becomes an obsession he cannot let go.

From these two events, a lot of the story unfolds. Across the years you see how Dora tries to maintain a relationship with her son after he and his father’s completely breaks down. Lucio’s suspicions of Renato lead him to make terrible choices, and permanently alienate him from Giovanna, who cannot believe he would try to drag a helpless and harmless old man’s name through the mud, after they’ve been nothing but good to his family. Monica struggles with new motherhood all alone.

Really enjoyable film, like a mini soap, just capturing the drama in this middle-class apartment building.