A charming Italian film with a lousy title

'Mid-August Lunch' is a good-natured food feature, much more fun than its name lets on.
Crosscut archive image.

A scene from 'Mid-August Lunch'

'Mid-August Lunch' is a good-natured food feature, much more fun than its name lets on.

Don't be put off by the generic title of this movie, "Mid-August Lunch." You want to grab the lily-livered marketing staff at Zeitgeist Films by the throat and choke them. What's wrong with the original, "Pranzo di Ferragosto"? Too ethnic? Too wordy? Then leave it at Ferragosto, Italy's annual summer blowout, coinciding with the Feast of the Assumption.

Anyway, the film is about a middle-aged Italian man who shares an apartment in Rome with his elderly mother. The landlord moves his own mother and aunt into their apartment, and what might become a geriatric boarding house comedy of manners instead turns into a good-natured food feature.

Writer-director Gianni Di Gregorio won a shower of awards (Best First Film at the Venice festival, Satyajit Ray award in London, Golden Snail in Bologna). The film's web site includes recipes for home cooks. Mangia!

"Mid-August Lunch" plays at the Varsity Theater, 4329 University Way N.E., April 30th to May 6th.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Ronald Holden

Ronald Holden

Ronald Holden is a regular Crosscut contributor. His new book, published this month, is titled “HOME GROWN Seattle: 101 True Tales of Local Food & Drink." (Belltown Media. $17.95).