Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Pranzo di Ferragosto
Italy, 2008. Archimede, Ministero per I Beni e le Attivita Culturali. Story by Gianni Di Gregorio, Simone Riccardini, Screenplay by Gianni Di Gregorio. Cinematography by Gian Enrico Bianchi. Produced by Matteo Garrone. Music by Ratchev & Carratello. Production Design by Susanna Cascella. Costume Design by Silvia Polidori. Film Editing by Marco Spoletini.
Miniature charmer about a middle-aged man who lives with his demanding, octogenarian mother and finds himself drowning in a series of mounting debts. When it comes time for the August 15th holiday, which his friends usually celebrate by going out of town, Gianni is approached by a buddy who asks him if he wouldn’t mind putting his own aging mother up for a couple of days while he enjoys the break with his new girlfriend. In exchange, his friend is willing to forget the money he is owed. Our hero reluctantly agrees, and before long finds himself being asked to do the same by a number of other friends of his, who all tell him that they will forget the debts he owes them in exchange for his turning his apartment into a mini-hotel for old ladies. Barely over an hour long, this subtle classic is a winning combination of dry humour and crisp characterizations, never overstating anything and acted to natural perfection by the entire cast. Valeria De Franciscis is a wonder as Gianni’s mother, herself making her film debut in her nineties.