Friday, April 23, 2010

You're Never Too Old for a "Mid-August Lunch"

Looking for a nice little old lady comedy?
It’s been a long time since “The Golden Girls” proved older actresses could be popular with audiences in the USA.
Italian writer-director Gianni Di Gregorio is one guy who appreciates older women without condescension or pandering.
Di Gregorio wrote and he stars in an utterly charming little comedy, “Mid-August Lunch.”
Gianni (Di Gregorio) is an older middle-aged man who lives with his elderly mother (Valeria De Franciscus) in the family’s ancient flat in Rome.
Gianni is evidently unemployed, although taking care of his mother amounts to a full-time occupation.
Gianni’s forte is cooking. He is a familiar figure at the local market, where he buys fresh ingredients and copious amounts of wine.
His tidy little life is put to the test when he agrees to look after his building manager’s mother (Marina Cacciotti) during the “Pranzo di Ferragosto” (Italy’s biggest summer holiday).
Gianni is in no position to turn down the assignment, but the ante is upped when the manager (Alfonso Santagata) show up with his aunt (Maria Cali), who also needs a place to stay.
If that weren’t enough, after a visit to his doctor, Gianni reluctantly agrees to look after his mother (Grazia Cesarini Storza) as well.
Put four women of any age who haven’t met together and the potential for conflict is high. When they are elderly there are further complications of diet, medicine and ingrained habits.
This is a light comedy though; not Edward Albee.
Gianni cooks, smokes, and drinks and drinks to cope with all the little skirmishes. At one point he brings in another layabout named Viking (Luigi Marchetti) to join the impromptu festivities.
This is a film ideally suited for Florida’s older audiences, and it is a preview of things to come for anyone under 50. The body ages. There are medical, physical and sometimes mental challenges, but the human spirit goes on, regardless of age.

Three stars

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