Mid-August Lunch | Gianni Di Gregorio | Italy | 2008 | 75min
The charismatic Gianni Di Gregorio (co-scenarist of the smash hit Gomorrah), stars in his directorial debut—an utterly charming tale of good food, feisty ladies and unlikely friendships during a very Roman holiday. Broke, and armed with only a glass of wine and a wry sense of humor, middle-aged Gianni resides with his 93-year-old mother in their ancient apartment. The condo debts are mounting, but if Gianni looks after the building managers mother during the Pranzo di Ferragosto (Italys biggest summer holiday, and the Feast of the Assumption), all will be forgiven. Then the manager also shows up with an auntie, and then a doctor friend appears with his mother in tow… Can Gianni keep four such lively mamas well fed and happy in these cramped quarters?
One of Italys leading scriptwriters, 59-year-old Gianni Di Gregorio (screenwriter of Gomorrah), stars in his utterly charming directorial debut as the money-troubled Giovanni, who spends his days caring for his elderly mother. Giovanni discovers that some of his back rent will be forgotten if he also takes in his landlords elderly mother for a few days during the traditional mid-August holiday. But when the landlord arrives, he has both his mother and aunt in tow. Then Giovannis friend Luigi shows up with a similar caretaking request for his own aged mother. Winner of multiple festival awards including Venices Isverma Award for best first film and Londons Satyajit Ray Award, Mid-August Lunch has a wonderfully loose, almost improvised feel in which Di Gregorio focuses on following the natural rhythms of his houseguests interactions with each other rather than a set storyline.