Pranzo di Ferragosto
Italy, 2008, 75 minutes
Sat, May 2 / 1:00 / Kabuki / MIDA02K
Mon, May 4 / 6:45 / Kabuki / MIDA04K
Thu, May 7 / 6:30 / PFA / MIDA07P
Middle-aged and impecunious Gianni lives with his aged mother in her large Rome apartment. The morning before the mid-August Pranzo di Ferragosto (Feast of the Assumption), when most Romans flee the hot city, the building manager tells Gianni that some of the apartment owners plan to sue him. But, if Gianni takes in the managerís mother for the night, he will handle most of Gianniís overdue bills. It turns out the managerís aunt also needs lodging. Che fai? Itís an emergency, so Gianni and his mother agree. A doctor friend then calls on the stressed Gianni, only to ask that in lieu of payment he take in his own mama until the next day. In Italy, caught between tradition and the modern world, caring for the aged is an especially complicated problem. But four mamas! Financially cornered, Gianni (played by director di Gregorio with wry resignation) musters all his charm to manage the needs and determined personalities of his guests. The contrasts here between brightly lit but distant exteriors and the deeply shadowed but up-close confines of the apartmentóreinforced by a score blending Argentine tango with traditional Italian and Balkan musicócaptures the muted vibrancy, warm humor and, equally, the social isolation of Gianniís ladies. Pranzo di Ferragosto, however, brings a table bathed in sunlight and a toast by four happy new friends. A dealís a deal, though, and the several sons will soon returnóunless these mamas manage to swing a deal of their own.
—Sidney J. P. Hollister
Presented with support from Fred Phillips. New Directors Prize Contender. West Coast Premiere.