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Mid-August Lunch 

Low-budget Italian comedy earns a spot on the menu

click to enlarge 22_mid_august_lunch.jpg

This 75-minute light comedy isn't much longer than a decent meal, but it's a real charmer. There's not much plot: Middle-aged, still-single Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio, who also co-wrote and directs) still lives with his mother in an old-fashioned Rome apartment. As a favor to some creditors, he agrees to take in three more elderly mamas over an August holiday. The ladies spat, laugh, eat and ramble on about the past -- while Gianni flutters about (mostly) uncomplainingly to make everybody happy. Di Gregorio, who shot the film in his own apartment, has a wonderful expressive face, and the women are a delight. (They are all non-professionals, and over 90!) The film offers a gentle rebuke to today's too-busy families who benignly neglect their older relatives, but Mid-August Lunch is wonderfully affirming. A sublime, slice-of-life gem that will leave you smiling. In Italian, with subtitles. Starts Fri., June 4. Regent Square

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