Friday, August 05, 2011

The Salt of Life

In Mid-August Lunch Gianni Di Gregorio looked at old women and their demands on the younger generation, as represented by eager-to-please middle aged Gianni (this writer-director doesn't have a lot of imagination with naming his characters).

This time he starts with a similar character (also played by himself and also called Gianni) and takes on the more challenging assignment of exploring a middle-aged man's relationship with women of all ages. Gianni complains to his friend that his is invisible to women. This is not strictly true. He has been forced into early retirement. His wife goes to work leaving him a to-do list. His daughter goes to university leaving him to feed her boyfriend. His cute neighbour is happy to have him walk her dog and do her shopping. While his mother rings him incessantly for various trivial "emergencies". He longs to be taken seriously as a male, rather than taken advantage of as an eager-to-please person. His attempts to make even slightly romantic contact with either younger women or those his own age fail ignominiously. It is not that the women swat him down, they just don't seem to notice that he is trying.

In British or American hands such a comic premise is likely to end up taking a crueller view of either men or women. But this Italian comedy is much gentler on both women and middle age male fantasies.

Ian's rating 4/5

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