Saturday, October 20, 2012

This Week’s Matinee: It’s a comedy. Bring vino


Gianni Di Gregorio wrote the screenplay to Gomorrah. He also wrote/acted/directed and probably sewed the costumes, cooked the pasta, and did everyone’s make-up in Mid-August Lunch.

One movie is an epic and ungodfatherly look at how the Camorra and gang wars have infiltrated most aspects of daily life in Naples and beyond.

The other film is a picaresque tale about a trustworthy, unambitious, middle-aged mama's boy ne’er-do-well, and his day in the company of four 80+ year old women. Shot, by the way, on a $400,000 budget.

See the first one if you’re a fan of Pasolini, Rossellini neo-realism.

But whatever your taste, see the second film. Trust me on this.

Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo di ferragosto) is a comedy about boundaries, ceding personal space to make room for each other. Grudgingly or willingly. Or grudgingly, then willingly.

We're going to rub shoulders in this life, that's inevitable. The only choice we have in the matter is whether to feel irritated or enriched by the experience.

The movie also features age – great age – women in their 80’s and 90’s. That's rare enough; rarer still, the women are characters for sure, but never cartoons, or dotty old fools. At a certain point, Di Gregorio pretty much turns the movie over to them. Actually, he has no choice.

After territorial wars over the kitchen and the television set, a great summit takes place around the table. So it’s also a movie about food. Ok, wait, maybe it’s a movie about hunger in all its manifestations, and nourishment.

Nothing much to offer via youtube, just this trailer (and skip the ad). The movie streams on Netflix.

25 comments:

  1. Going to check it out on Netflix.

    Women of advanced age can be inspiring.

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  2. this looks like a fun movie!. that food has now made me hungry!.

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  3. Thanks for the review. Will check out Netflx

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  4. Looks like a real gem. So is your review. I know what I'm doing this rainy afternoon.

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  5. Looks like a fun escape!!! Netflix tends to drain the internet resources of the Mountain and so I havent done any netflix before!!! (Everyone else does which is why my internet runs so slow when there's a lot of people up here...so I guess I'm standing on principle!!!)

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  6. Summits are good things, especially when they involve nosh and film!

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  7. Looks good, I've added it to my List.

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  8. It was already in my queue, just haven't gotten to it yet. We went to see Argo last night and after it was over I wished I had stayed home. There's just no pleasing me it seems so I'm looking forward to this one fer shure.

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  9. Of all the women, the gently imperious and spoiled Mama was my favorite, and I was sure I had seen her in lots of old Fellini and Leone films. But no, this was her debut -- a starlet at the age of 93. She's a natural.

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  10. A comedy which requires a brain is a rare commodity indeed.

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  11. Sounds like an excellent movie. Pass the food and vino, please :-)

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  12. Sounds delightful! Thanks for the tip, KB.

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  13. LOVE, Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo di ferragosto). I have this film and I have been seeing it many times.

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  14. alas - I am no longer with the great netflik

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  15. I am always looking for Netflix recommendations. Grazie.

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  16. Awaiting more posts!

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  17. You're right, Anon. Someone around here isn't earning her keep, but don't want to point any fingers. She might come through for us tomorrow.

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  18. I really enjoyed Mid-August Lunch; and your review of it is spot-on! I need to watch it again.

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  19. I"m looking at that table and why the hell I wasn't invited.
    V

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  20. Mille grazie, Karin. Espero di guardarlo presto.

    And by the way, I reccomend the book Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano on which that movie was based. It is a deeper darker look at Naples and the Camorra.

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  21. Hi Karin,
    I forgot I commented on that post. I agree with you, it’s also a movie about food.
    You did a good review here!

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