Jeesh, this is already the seventh Michael Winterbottom movie I've posted about. What I like about his approach is how he engages with the world, with people, and with people in the world, all relating to each other. Usually up close and personal. With Genova (2008; rebranded in the US as A Summer in Genoa), this all very much holds true.
Setup: a father and two daughters move from Chicago to Genoa for a year after the mother dies in a car wreck. They all three are soon trying to get their bearings. The older daughter quickly comes to hang out with somewhat risky local peers, while the younger begins to see their mother's ghost (and/or is having post-traumatic stress intrusions upon everyday life). The father is sort of in a daze, caught between anxiously caring for his daughters and being vaguely wooed by an old colleague and a new student.
Primary setting: Genova (Genoa), Italy -- at something like 2,500 years old, it's worth its weight in history and gold and, even aside from the intertwining story, a major character in its own right. Including cuisine -- pasta with pesto, and so on.
Ensemble acting is very effective. They made me care, hoping they'd make it through a difficult time in their lives without further damage, anxious for their well-being. Key actors: Colin Firth, Hope Davis, Catherine Keener, Margherita Romeo, Perla Haney-Jardine and Willa Holland. Also: narrow medieval alleyways (caruggi), the Mediterranean Sea, Catholic inconography, music, everything.
Today's Rune: Joy.