PRANZO DI FERRAGOSTO

Italy

Synopsis

Gianni is a middle-aged man, the only son of his widowed mother, with whom he lives in an old house in central Rome. Living under the tyranny of this impoverished aristocrat, his life drags on between housework and going to the bar. The day before the August bank holiday the condominium manager asks him to take his mother into his home for the two days of the bank holiday. In exchange, he will knock some money of the condominium debts Gianni has run up over the years. Gianni is forced to accept. The manager treacherously turns up with two women, since he doesn’t know where to take his aunt, he brings her along too. Gianni is overwhelmed and crushed by the clash between these three dominant characters, but heroically does his best to make them happy. At a certain point he feels faint and calls a friend of his who is a doctor. The doctor not only reassures Gianni, but foists his own elderly mother on him, since he is on shift at the hospital. Gianni goes through 24 hours of hell. But when at last it’s time to say goodbye, the women have other ideas…

Director's Statement

As the only son of a widowed mother, for many long years I had to tackle my mother – a person with an overpowering personality – on my own (my wife and daughters had fed out of an instinct for survival), and live surrounded by her world. Even though it was a trying experience, I got to know and love the richness, vitality and strengths of the elderly. But I also saw their loneliness and vulnerability in a world that moves on quickly, without knowing where, because it has forgotten its history, has lost its continuity over time, and is afraid of old age and death, unaware that nothing has any value except the quality of feeling. In the summer 2000 the condominium manager, knowing that I was behind with my payments, really did ask me to look after his mother for the August bank holiday. In a show of wounded self-dignity I refused, but since then I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I had accepted. This is the result. After talking to some professional actresses, in the end I chose women who had never acted before, on the basis of their strength of character, and since they lacked any formal preconceptions. During shooting they swept me away; the story changed on the basis of their mood, but their contribution in terms of spontaneity and truth was crucial. I even did some takes without them realising.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Gianni Di Gregorio

Written by: Gianni Di Gregorio

Produced by: Matteo Garrone

Cinematography: Gian Enrico Bianchi

Main Cast: Gianni Di Gregorio (Gianni), Valeria De Franciscis (Valeria), Marina Cacciotti (Marina), Maria Calì (Maria), Grazia Cesarini Sforza (Grazia), Luigi Marchetti (Vikingo)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Screenwriter 2009
  • People's Choice Award 2009
  • Feature Film Selection 2009