Synopsis by Mark Deming
A man makes friends with his teenaged son for the first time in this emotional drama from Italy. Gianni (Kim Rossi Stuart) fathered a child with his wife, but she died in childbirth, and the baby was born with severe physical and mental handicaps. The boy, Paolo (Andrea Rossi), was raised by the late woman's family until he reached the age of 15, when Gianni decided he wanted to meet and spend time with his son. With Paolo scheduled for treatment with medical specialists in Germany, Gianni offers to pick up his son and travel with him to Berlin. At first, Gianni is taken aback by the extent of his son's disabilities, but he also sees the great warmth and charm that his son possesses, and over the course of their first few days together, Gianni begins to feel a real bond with Paolo for the first time. While in Berlin, Gianni makes friends with Nicole (Charlotte Rampling), a woman whose daughter faces many of the same challenges as Paolo, and through her he begins to appreciate the responsibilities and the rewards of caring for a handicapped child. La Chiavi di Casa (aka The Keys to the House) was screened in competition at the 2004 Venice Film Festival.
father, family-abandonment, handicap, son, bonding [relationship], journey, medical-test