Pranzo di ferragosto is the directorial debut of Gianni di Gregorio (who wrote the screenplay for Gomorra), who not only wrote the film, but plays the lead character of Gianni. On a cold, wintery night last night I watched this light, sweet Italian film about an unemployed man who looks after his mother in a condo apartment; but suddenly accumulates other elderly women that he must also take care of while everyone else has left the city for the ferragosto celebration. The kitchen scenes of cooking look like so much fun; can't wait to have my own house with my own kitchen some day.
'This gentle charmer follows Gianni, a sixty-something Roman who lives with his tyrannical 93-year-old mother, Valeria, and suddenly finds himself forced to look after three other elderly ladies. As the late summer holiday of Ferragosto approaches, Gianni is blackmailed by his building manager Luigi into looking after Luigi's mother for two nights in exchange for forgiving certain tenant debts. But when Luigi comes to the apartment, he's brought not only his mother Marina, but his aunt Maria as well.
Soon after, Gianni's doctor-friend Marcello pays a call, asking if he can leave his mother, Grazia, for just one night. The aging women, each with her own strong personality, prove a handful while grudging host Gianni attempts to monitor their pill intake and pacify them with food. Debuting director di Gregorio's combination of artistry and humanity avoids platitudes and exaggeration as he spins this warm-hearted, humorous tale.'