Almost exclusively featuring his family, Bellocchio filmed over a ten year period with segments shot from 1999 to 2008. It begins when Elena (Bellocchio’s daughter, and an incredibly natural performer) is five. Elena’s mother, Sara (Finocchiaro), is an actress and is often away from home so Elena spends much of her time with her uncle Pier Giorgio (Bellocchio’s son), a frustrated artist. They live in the small town of Bobbio (Bellocchio’s hometown) with Pier Giorgio’s spinster aunts (Letizia and Maria Luisa Bellocchio).
Over ten years, the film follows these difficult relationships as the characters come and go from Bobbio, and Bellocchio captures the hopes, disappointments and yearnings of his own family. Moments from Bellocchio’s other films including Fist in His Pocket and The Nanny are also interspersed throughout as quick flashes that relate to the family’s onscreen drama.
This is not a filmic diary of the director’s family. Although the actors play themselves, their relationships have mostly been shifted to some degree. But as an experimental and dramatic work it is riveting viewing.