We often heard that Italy is the land of la dolce vita where its citizens enjoy their time eating, drinking, and be merry each and every single day. Well, apparently those days are nearly over with all the crises Italy suffers in the last few years and somehow we can sense it from this film, but the life that Gianni leads alongside his elderly mother here may prove the opposite despite the hardships.
So basically, Gianni’s life is all about between taking care of his 93-year-old mom in an apartment they share and going to a tavern. Everything went well, if not tedious, but the landlord arrives to ask him a favor. Gianni cannot refuse this because he cannot pay his rent properly for some time now, but luckily the landlord will consider it all paid if he does this job.
Although he’s hesitating, but finally Gianni agrees to take care of the landlord’s mom for a couple of days while he’s gone for a health treatment out of Rome.
All of a sudden, Gianni has to take care more elderly mom as other related elders are coming as well. Apparently, not only the landlord’s mom and her relative, but Gianni’s mother’s doctor asks him for the same favor as well. Now, Gianni has to face four elderly ladies of different characters, restrictions with their diets, and other health conditions.
While the film duration may not be long, the slow tempo brings out the best from our patience. The scenes may not seem insignificant but it’s a nonsensical description of daily life recreated by director Gianni Di Gregorio. The movie also gives a good lesson on how to respect and deal with the elders.
Of course, it all evolves around food as well since Gianni traverses around Rome to find a good fish, a good wine, and also to cook for everyone back home. I cannot help but to praise the job Gianni has done to keep up with these ladies while also tending with his other problems and worries, mostly related with the debts and also the logistics for the Ferragosto lunch.
Despite living in a decrepit apartment and the decaying Rome, we can still somehow sense that the locals are still willing to live their daily lives the best they can do. It might look a bit depressing considering nowadays economy in Europe, from what I heard, but the Italians are still striving to live their la dolce vita to the farthest extent they can achieve, thanks to Gianni and the ladies in this movie.
MID-AUGUST LUNCH (Pranzo di Ferragosto) (2008)
Drool Level: ** (not bad!)
Director: Gianni Di Gregorio
Producer: Matteo Garrone
Screenwriter: Gianni Di Gregorio, Simone Riccardini
Starring: Gianni Di Gregorio, Valeria de Franciscis, Marina Cacciotti, Maria Cali
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Pictures taken from various sources