Swiss-born architect Alexandre Schmidt (Fabrizio Rongione) has reached a peak in his career. He has some amount of fame and big plans for a new direction in design. He wants to make buildings for an age of climate change; he is going to challenge himself and the system.
But he and his wife, Aliénor (Chistelle Prod Landman), a sociologist and humanitarian, are utterly soulless people. They have everything, but the core of their marriage is empty and cold. They are entering the last half of their lives with really nothing interesting to say to each other.
The director of this movie, Eugene Green (an American who lives in France), makes it his mission to bring a little warmth and life into their frozen world, and he does this by sending the Parisian couple on a trip to Lake Maggiore, in Italy. There they meet, in a park, a young brother and sister. It turns out the brother wants to be an architect; as for the sister, she has fainting spells.
The ambitious brother goes to Rome with the architect to look at old buildings, while the sister receives regular visits in her bedroom from the sociologist. The film is filled with lots of really excellent conversations about European architecture and literature. Everything is very classical, and the acting is deliberately unnatural and flat.
If architecture aspires to the condition of music, the acting in La Sapienza aspires to the condition of architecture. You will love the ending of this very original and elegant and arty work.