Pranzo di Ferragosto
Gianni Di Gregorio :: Italy :: 2008 :: 1h16
Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio), who is well into his forties, has no job or income and still lives in his comfortable family home with his ageing mother. She is a capricious but refined woman who requires a lot of attention and even more patience. Gianni offers her those but can barely squeeze a little life of his own in there. When those around him escape from Rome for some fresh countryside air in the mid-summer weekend, he finds himself left behind in the empty city with a motley of elderly ladies.
I suppose many people will amuse themselves wondering if Mr Di Gregorio is playing himself, or at least a little… as the Gianni in the movie is somewhat removed from normal society. He seems to have accepted that he will be taking care of his mother, at the expense of having his own life. This is a rare form of self-sacrifice in our day, and shows, through our own eyes, our expectations of an individual’s life. Can you live a full life without a romantic relationship? Can you feel content without being able to provide for yourself (and your family), without perusing some kind of personal development? How far from the ordinary can you be removed and still feel content about your life?
It is not easy. Gianni needs money and yet does not work. Of course if he would work, then who would take care of his mother? Should he be working to be able to pay for a home for her, so that he can start a relationship of his own? Then his mother would be all alone, unhappy and less well taken care of than in the company of her own son. The dilemma of the ageing society laid bare.
When we see the elderly ladies laughing and interacting together, it is almost as if a choice has to be made in society, that either the elderly or the young have to sacrifice themselves for the other. This awkward thought is dispelled later on, at least somewhat, as the characters all find a place for themselves in this unexpected weekend away without leaving. This is a touching and funny film, which should have been released here in May when everyone has one foot at home and the other in a long weekend away. It would have added a nice tie-in with the reality around us.