Mid-August Lunch

Mid-August Lunch

2008, NR, 75 min. Directed by Gianni Di Gregorio. Starring Gianni Di Gregorio, Valeria De Franciscis, Marina Cacciotti, Grazia Cesarini Sforza, Luigi Marchetti, Maria Calì.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., June 4, 2010

Di Gregorio co-wrote Gomorrah, a shuddering Mafia exposé that makes a person want to look away from all the awfulness onscreen. Mid-August Lunch, the 60-year-old's directorial debut, achieves rather the opposite effect; so cozy and lulling and slight is it, I could hardly keep my eyes open. That is not quite the disparagement it sounds like; Mid-August Lunch's more-or-less 24-hour cycle takes place around the Ferragosto holiday on Aug. 15, when it is hot and bright and the Roman people have either emptied the city or retired indoors for a nice long nap. Middle-aged bachelor Gianni (played genially by the director) plans on a quiet holiday with his 97-year-old mother (played by De Franciscis), with whom he lives. In a smartly underplayed preface, Gregorio establishes the mother-son dynamic: loving but exhausting. Her demands, while not immoderate, are relentless, and Gianni is run ragged as her full-time caretaker. Now imagine that, the film supposes, with considerable mirth, times four: Partly through accident, partly through design, Gianni takes in three more senior-aged women for the Ferragosto holiday, Italian mamas dumped by adult children who want to go play. The quartet of senior women are, for the director, mostly a means to an end, their neediness and snipping and restricted diets spinning Gianni to and fro. Di Gregorio has not unreasonably given himself the lead: His hero is likable but one-note, and that note can be found in the bottom of a bottle of vino. But these women! These women are marvelous, with ancient, creased faces and the kind of admirable fuck-all attitude that comes with age. I couldn't take my eyes off them.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Gianni Di Gregorio Films
The Salt of Life
This Italian import by the director of Mid-August Lunch addresses the concerns of aging men who realize they are no longer attractive to young women.

Marjorie Baumgarten, April 6, 2012

More by Kimberley Jones
Hillary Clinton, Anthony Fauci Headline This Year's 100% Virtual Texas Tribune Festival
Hillary Clinton, Anthony Fauci Headline This Year's 100% Virtual Texas Tribune Festival
Programming includes Ted Cruz and Lincoln Project mischiefmakers

Aug. 11, 2020

We Have an Issue: The News Is Always Breaking
We Have an Issue: The News Is Always Breaking
It’s our Back to School issue... but what does “Back to School” even mean in pandemic time?

Aug. 7, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Mid-August Lunch, Gianni Di Gregorio, Gianni Di Gregorio, Valeria De Franciscis, Marina Cacciotti, Grazia Cesarini Sforza, Luigi Marchetti, Maria Calì

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle