Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Writer-director Kim Rossi-Stuart helms and stars in the relentlessly disturbing Italian-language domestic drama Libero, from a script he co-penned with Federico Starnone, Linda Ferri and Francesco Giammusso. The story opens on a household in Rome, where single father Renato (Stuart) juggles responsibilities in his job as a cinematographer with his paternal obligations, which involve raising his son and daughter: teenager Viola (Marta Nobili) and primary schooler Tommi (Alessandro Morace). His valiant attempts in both areas, however, do little to compensate for his mercurial temper and sudden, vitriolic explosions of rage. The outbursts soon take their toll on both children; Viola delves into a rich adolescent fantasy world, while Tommi - more disturbingly - drifts into self-destruction (with suicidal walks along rooftop edges) and juvenile delinquency (slingshot attacks, directed at the neighbors). He fares little better at school, grappling with a newfound infatuation on a female classmate that he has difficulty expressing appropriately, and backwardness around his male peers. The story takes an unexpected twist when the mother of the family, Stefania (Barbora Bobulovi) returns, but her arrival reignites marital problems with Renato. Moreover, the latter's income declines sharply as he is fired from one job after another for irrational rants - further taking its toll on everyone. Libero marks the directorial debut of Rossi-Stuart, an established actor in Italian films.