Archive of films Mid-August Lunch / Pranzo di Ferragosto

2008, 75 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2009

What happens when a middle-aged bachelor has to put together a special lunch in the middle of August in the deserted centre of Rome, not only for his own mother, but for three other elderly ladies as well? For his directorial debut comedy, screenwriter Gianni Di Gregorio won a prize for Best First Film at the 65th Venice IFF and the David di Donatello award for 2009.


The Italian holiday "ferragosto” falls in the middle of August and incorporates a short break during which the cities become deserted. Middle-aged Gianni, who lives in the centre of Rome, would love the chance to get away, but he has to look after his old mother who browbeats him in all ways possible, leaving him no time to go down and get some shopping or have a quiet drink somewhere. Since his neighbour is well aware of the situation, he asks Gianni the day before the holiday to take in his old mother as well, promising that he’ll write off the joint administration debts Gianni has run up over the years. When the neighbour turns up at the door not only with his mother, but also with his aunt, Gianni starts to feel sick. He goes to see his doctor friend to get him to take his blood pressure, but even he foists his own elderly mother on him. So Gianni, resigned to his fate, starts planning a special lunch for four old ladies. The film, the debut of screenwriter Gianni Di Gregorio, who also plays the main character, won the Luigi De Laurentiis award for Best First Film at the 65th Venice IFF last year and was successfully screened at numerous festivals all over the world.

About the director

Gianni Di Gregorio (1949, Rome) who studied literature and acting, worked in theatre as an actor and assistant director, and it wasn’t long before he transferred to film. In 1986 he was involved in the screenplay for the comedy He Looks Dead…But He Just Fainted (Sembra morto, ma é solo svenuto, dir. Felice Farina) which won the FIPRESCI Prize in Venice in 1987. Other scripts: Carefree Giovanni (Giovanni Senzapensieri, dir. Marco Colli, 1987), Special Affections (Afetti speciali, dir. Felice Farina, 1991), Long Live the Monkey! (Viva la scimmia!, dir. Marco Colli, 2000). He has been working with Matteo Garrone since 2000 and shared in the screenplay for his famous film Gomorrah (Gomorra, 2008). Mid-August Lunch is his directing debut which garnered him a David di Donatello Award, among others.


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About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Another View
Director: Gianni Di Gregorio
Screenplay: Gianni Di Gregorio
Dir. of Photography: Gian Enrico Bianchi
Music: Ratchev & Carratello
Editor: Marco Spoletini
Producer: Matteo Garrone
Production: Archimede Film
Cast: Valeria De Franciscis, Marina Cacciotti, Maria Calì, Grazia Cesarini Sforza, Alfonso Santagata, Gianni Di Gregorio
Contact: Fandango Portobello Sales

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