“Hurt is useful as much as happiness.” It’s songwriter Brunori SAS who quotes himself in Duccio Chiarini’s The Guest, presented in the Piazza Grande of the Locarno Film Festival. The Italian artist makes a brief but significant appearance in the sophomore feature by the Florence-born director already known for his debut Short Skin.

The Guest is permeated by a widespread sadness who moves across an entire generation (that of who’s 40 today) dealing with complicated sentimental and sexual relationships, with the concept of liquidity who translates from work insecurity to the personal life. In this sense, Guido (Daniele Parisi), who lives a relationship crisis and sleeps on the couch of various friends, is a perfectly fitting image. Guido goes around looking for hospitality, or maybe for a stability by looking at his friends’ lives. However, he’s taken by surprise when he discovers that every couple live its small existential tragedy.

Guido’s gaze delicately observes these stories. Likewise, the director creates a perfect balance between comedy and drama by managing to describe the crisis of the contemporary man. In the words of Chiarini: “In this film I tried to tackle the complexity of sentimental relationships through the perspective of a fragile man. He’s almost 40 and ideally represent all those men who are not really able to deal with the opposite sex. However, they are looking for new ways of living their sexual identity, while constantly confronted with women who are very distant from the figure of their mothers. Describing women has been more complicated of course, but also more fascinating. I grew up in a family where women were important points of reference, and I think this can be seen in my film too.”

Guido’s bewilderment is a constant in the film. The ending leaves us with a feeling of constant eradication. “Since I started thinking about his story, I had the feeling that the life of the protagonist was characterized by a dichotomy between the timings of his psychological and inner growth, and those of his biological cycle. This feeling led me to think that a ‘late coming of age’ could be a truthful and sincere way to tell my generation – an ‘hyper-trained’ generation who spent years specializing in multiple fields but that find it difficult to apply their knowledge, like if they always need new confirmations before taking a decision that could reveal to be wrong.”

Actor Daniele Parisi adds: “Playing this role was much fun because Guido doesn’t resemble me at all. I define him as a ‘delta male’. It’s also been very interesting the work we did on my acting, always looking for shades, the right tone for every line in order to grant credibility to the character.” The cast also include Silvia D’AmicoAnna BellatoThony, Milvia MariglianoSergio PierattiniDaniele NataliGuglielmo Favilla.