Valeria De Franciscis - News Poster


DVD Release: The Salt of Life

DVD Release Date: Sept. 18, 2012

Price: DVD $29.99

Studio: Zeitgeist

Gianni Di Gregorio is looking for love in The Salt of Life.

The latest comedy from Italian director/actor Gianni Di Gregorio, 2011’s The Salt of Life is a follow-up to Di Gregorio ‘s popular 2010 arthouse film Mid-August Lunch.

In The Salt of Life, Di Gregorio portrays the middle-aged retiree Gianni, who has become invisible to all the women of Rome, regardless of age or relation. In his day-to-day existence, Gianni must contend with an aristocratic, spendthrift mother (again played by Lunchʼs Valeria de Franciscis Bendoni); a wife who is more patronizing friend than romantic partner; an ambivalent, slacker daughter (played by Di Gregorioʼs real-life daughter); and a wild party-girl neighbor who uses him…as a dog walker. Watching his codger friends snare beautiful younger women, Gianni tries his best to generate some kind of extracurricular love life—with results that are both funny and poignant.
See full article at Disc Dish »

Preview: Afs Selects 'The Salt of Life' Opening Friday

In The Salt of Life (with an Italian title better translated as Gianni and the Women), Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio) is a sweet sadsack of a man, nearing 60 but already "retired" for nearly a decade. He is lonely but not alone, since he has a lovely wife, college-age daughter, concerned friend Alfonso (Alfonso Santagata), a sweet dog, and a nonagenarian mother. But it is the latter, played by Valeria de Franciscis, whose imperious manner and spendthrift ways are increasing the size of the Gucci bags drooping under Gianni's tired eyes.

If she has any "problem," large or small, Mama calls her only child and complains that she isn't feeling well and that he must come over right away. Once he arrives at her beautiful estate with a lush garden and rooms full of valuable art, Gianni quickly discovers that she simply needs champagne and sandwiches served to her ancient friends playing poker.
See full article at Slackerwood »

The Salt of Life Movie Review

  • ShockYa
The Salt of Life Movie Review
Title: The Salt of Life (Gianni e le donne) Director: Gianni Di Gregorio Cast: Gianni Di Gregorio, Valeria De Franciscis and Alfonso Santagata Most love stories take a look at young love. Two young lovers meet, fall in love and eventually live happily ever after, or break up. When we think of “love,” we think of “young” or the idea of “to be young,” even if a film deals with older people falling in love. Getting an injection from cupid, almost always involves acting and think “young.” As if there is no consequences to actions or the only driving force is youthful and foolish but at the same time charming...
See full article at ShockYa »

Film Of The Week: The Salt of Life

by Vadim Rizov

In the 1970 comedy Where's Poppa?, George Segal's every attempt to find a romantic partner is sabotaged with senile maliciousness by his screen mom Ruth Gordon, whose needs preclude finding a romantic partner. It's cinema's ultimate Jewish mother joke about a son whose sexual instincts are incestuously redirected back into the family. Late bloomer Gianni di Gregorio repressed all such lusty urges in his directorial debut Mid-August Lunch, re-enacting his years of maternal care for a woman not ashamed to wheedle to get the care she needs.

The Salt of Life dreams of the future rather than brooding over the past, with all those previously unmentioned desires gushing out. Once again, "Gianni" (di Gregorio himself) is front and center and his mother (Valeria de Franciscis) is still a financial and emotional black hole. She lives in a big house, casually paying 800 Euros for roses while her son
See full article at GreenCine Daily »

Film Feature: The 15th Annual EU Film Festival Arrives at Chicago’s Siskel Center

Chicago – One of the annual gems of the Chicago movie scene is the Siskel Film Center’s unmissable European Union Film Festival. It provides local movie buffs with the opportunity to sample some of the finest achievements in world cinema. For many of the festival selections, their EU appearance will function as their sole screening in the Windy City.

This year’s edition, running from March 2nd through the 29th, includes high profile films from world renowned filmmakers like Andrea Arnold (“Wuthering Heights”), Bruce Dumont (“Hors Satan”), Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon (“The Fairy”), Abdellatif Kechiche (“Black Venus”) and John Landis (“Burke & Hare”). Moviegoers will have the opportunity to see the latest work from some of the world’s most acclaimed and beloved actors, including Léa Seydoux (“Belle Épine”), Tahir Rahim (“Free Men”), Colm Meaney (“Parked”), Noomi Rapace (“Beyond”), Andy Serkis (“Burke & Hare”), Isabella Rossellini (“Late Bloomers”) and Ewan McGregor
See full article at »

DVD Review - The Salt of Life (2011)

The Salt of Life (Italian: Gianni e le Donne), 2011.

Directed by Gianni Di Gregorio.

Starring Gianni Di Gregorio, Alfonso Santagata, Elisabetta Piccolomini, Valeria Cavalli and Valeria de Franciscis.


A hen-pecked house husband attempts to reacquaint himself with some of life’s pleasures.

After spending much of his career in the theatre, Italian actor-turned-filmmaker Gianna Di Gregorio made his directorial debut back in 2008 with the critically acclaimed comedy, Mid-August Lunch. A semi-autobiographical tale about a middle-aged bachelor living with his elderly mother, the film saw Di Gregorio taking on the lead role in addition to writing and directing, and earned him a host of plaudits, including Best First Feature at the London Film Festival. His breakthrough assured, Di Gregorio chose to remain in familiar territory for his next feature, The Salt of Life, a quasi-sequel / reimagining of Mid-August Lunch about a retired Italian man looking for one last romantic adventure.
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

The best films of 2011: Peter Bradshaw's choice

Despite the UK Film Council's golden age, 2011 was very much a mixed bag of events

In some ways, 2011 was the strangest year in living memory for British cinema. The UK Film Council was officially wound up at the end of March, a showy act from this coalition government, annulling a Labour creation on the grounds of high salaries and cronyism, but transferring much of its budget and responsibilities to the British Film Institute. And this at a time when the Film Council was having a golden age: a bag of Oscars for The King's Speech and a feeling that it had fostered real talent. Something was going very right for British cinema. Lynne Ramsey's We Need to Talk About Kevin premiered at Cannes; Steve McQueen's Shame and Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights made waves at Venice.

Two film-makers from Iran showed that cinema was able to address
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Roman holiday: Gianni Di Gregorio's Trastevere

The arthouse film Mid-August Lunch made the colourful streets of Trastevere its backdrop. Our writer explores Rome's quirkiest quarter with Gianni Di Gregorio, the film's star

The street is wide, quiet and tree-lined, with ridiculously steep steps at one end and a chaotic crossroads at the other. Several old men sit outside a bar on plastic chairs, contemplating the world in silence as they absorb the intense early-morning heat. Through a heavy wooden door, up four flights of stairs, there is the screenwriter, actor and director Gianni Di Gregorio on the landing, bowing slightly as he welcomes me into his flat.

He looks exactly as he does in the wonderful low-budget film Mid-August Lunch, the 2009 arthouse hit in which he cast himself as an unemployed bachelor whose life is dedicated to looking after his 90-year-old widowed mother. It's crazy to think that the film almost didn't get made. He wrote
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Salt of Life – review

Italy's sad-faced charmer Gianni Di Gregorio is back as a henpecked son, now in search of a suitable mistress in this warm, witty comedy

Three years ago, after a lifetime of acting in the theatre and working as an assistant director and screenwriter in the cinema, the 60-year-old Gianni Di Gregorio won major national and international fame as co-author of Matteo Garrone's expansive Italian crime movie Gomorrah, a complex exposé of the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia. He immediately followed this up with an even greater personal success as the writer, director and star of the low-budget, multi-prizewinning Mid‑August Lunch. In that gem-like chamber comedy he played a retired middle-aged bachelor caring for his ancient mother in the bustling central Roman district of Trastevere and being persuaded to take care of three other old women over a bank holiday weekend.

His new film, The Salt of Life, is quite as good.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

This week's new films

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (12A)

(Rupert Wyatt, 2011, Us) James Franco, Freida Pinto, Tom Felton, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis. 105 mins

Like X-Men: First Class, this expensive but empty effects vehicle is a lot of story-so-far bluster, never quite deciding whether it's leading up to the events of the 1968 original or the dire 2001 "reimagining". It's better than the latter, but sadly the story is as pasty as Franco's performance, playing a boffin who develops an antidote to Alzheimer's that works brilliantly on apes but has dire consequences for humanity. The effects are memorable; not much else is.

Project Nim (12A)

(James Marsh, 2011, UK) 99 mins

From the director of Man On Wire, this sad, disturbing documentary about an ineptly-run 70s science experiment to raise a chimpanzee as a human being works much better as a dystopian sci-fi fable than the big-budget Rise …

The Devil's Double (18)

(Lee Tamahori, 2011, Belg) Dominic Cooper,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Salt of Life – review

The director has cast himself in the lead as a hangdog Italian looking for romantic adventure, in a commentary on men and ageing

This thoroughly delightful Italian comedy by screenwriter-turned-auteur Gianni Di Gregorio is a kind of romantic realist-fantasia with Fellini in its DNA, and a little of Woody Allen. It is a continuation of his beguiling low-budget hit Mid-August Lunch, and also a very rare example of a movie whose starring role has been given to a real human being with a real human face. A gloomy househusband in late middle-age is dominated by his formidable mother, disenchanted by his marriage and obsessed with the last-gasp possibility of romantic adventure with one of the many attractive women who seem to cross his path. In any other circumstances, the role would call for a handsome, baby-faced former matinee idol in the style of Marcello Mastroianni. Instead, as in his previous film,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Salt of Life Review

  • HeyUGuys
The protagonist in writer/director and star Gianni Di Gregorio’s poignant new Italian drama, The Salt of Life (Gianni e le donne), may well be in his autumn years and settling down to retirement, but the message is the same for all who catch this touching tale: embrace life and all its opportunities.

Gianni (played Di Gregorio himself) is a middle-aged family man who has recently retired. His wife and grown-up daughter seem too busy with their own lives, his mother (Valeria De Franciscis Bendoni) has him at her beck and call, and his randy old lawyer friend, Alfonso (Alfonso Santagata), is either busy chasing skirt – his younger female clients’ – or setting him up with dates. Gianni struggles not to become old before his time and remain relevant and attractive to those around him, particularly the opposite sex.

This light- and big-hearted tale is almost semi-autobiographical, with Di Gregorio
See full article at HeyUGuys »

The Salt of Life – review

Following Mid-August Lunch, Gianni Di Gregorio manages to serve up a second, equally sweet helping of Italian charm

Gianni Di Gregorio is a bit of a modern-day mystery: how could someone score an international hit with a gentle, honey-sweet film about a lugubrious middle-aged man cooking lunch for his old mum and a bunch of random elderly women? Added to which, his most notable prior credit was as co-writer of the lacerating Gomorrah, arguably the most gruesome true-crime film of recent years.

However it happened, Di Gregorio did it; and the affection in which that film, Mid-August Lunch, is held, was demonstrated in the packed screening for a second helping of Di Gregorio's drooping eyelids and pained, obliging smile. His mum, played by the astonishing Valeria De Franciscis, is back too, but this is not exactly a sequel, more an expansion and follow-up. In Mid-August Lunch, Di Gregorio was single
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Movie Review - 'Mid-August Lunch'

Mid-August Lunch

Starring Gianni Di Gregorio, Valeria De Franciscis, and Marina Cacciotti

Directed by Gianni Di Gregorio

Not rated

We're getting close to summer, and that's when Hollywood tends to put away character development and honest emotions like winter clothes, only unpacking them again once the leaves fall off the tree. So we have to rely on the few indie films that find their way into theaters over the next few months as well as imports designed to offer you something different.

It's unlikely that any of the major summer fare will take as much time and effort to explore its characters as Mid-August Lunch, an Italian film that picked up several European film award nominations last year.

Part of that rather obvious shift from the sort of movies that will be upconverted to 3-D is the conscious decision by writer-director- star Gianni Di Gregorio to work with a cast of non-actors,
See full article at Get The Big Picture »

Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo di ferragosto) | Review

Director: Gianni Di Gregorio Writer: Gianni di Gregorio, Simone Riccardini. Starring: Gianni Di Gregorio, Valeria de Franciscis, Marina Cacciotti, Maria Cali, Nazan Kırılmış Written and directed by Gianni Di Gregorio (co-writer of 2008’s Gomorrah), Mid-August Lunch features Di Gregorio as the financially-strapped Gianni who resides with his 93-year-old mother (Valeria De Franciscis) in a condominium in Trastevere, a working-class district of Rome. Gianni has fallen behind on their condo payments – it seems Gianni might be unemployed – and the building manager (Alfonso Santagata) blatantly takes advantage of Gianni’s situation. In exchange for taking care of his elderly mother (Marina Cacciotti) and aunt (Maria Cali) – so he can sneak away in his convertible for a mid-August vacation with his youthful signorina – the building manager will waive Gianni’s mounting housing debts. Then, in lieu of payment for a medical house-call, a doctor (Marcello Ottolenghi) convinces Gianni to baby-sit his mom (Grazia Cesarini Sforza
See full article at SmellsLikeScreenSpirit »

‘Mid-August Lunch’ Pleasant, Tenderly Tasty Trifle

Rating: 3.0/5.0

Chicago – Not much happens in “Mid-August Lunch.” It’s as uneventful and often benign as the title suggests, though that’s not to say it’s dull. Some films are primarily about plot, while others are about behavior, and this quietly observant international crowd-pleaser certainly fits in the latter category.

It marks the directorial debut of Italian filmmaker Gianni Di Gregorio, who co-wrote Matteo Garrone’s brilliant crime saga “Gomorrah” (Garrone is credited as the producer of “Lunch”). What made “Gomorrah” so powerful, apart from its riveting series of intersecting story lines, was its refusal to romanticize the material. There was no escapist thrill found in watching ordinary Italians whose lives are controlled, and in some cases destroyed, by the mob organization known as the Camorra. The film’s uncompromising level of realism was a crucial element of its success. In contrast, “Lunch” is a welcome diversion, though it’s no less authentic.
See full article at »

13th Annual EU Film Festival Highlights, Week One: ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ ‘Draft Dodgers’

Chicago – Foreign film fans and art house aficionados rejoice! The Annual European Union Film Festival is back at the Siskel Film Center, offering Chicagoans a rare and illuminating journey through contemporary world cinema. Sifting through five dozen titles may prove to be formidable for moviegoers deciding what to see. Let us guide the way.

This year’s edition, running from March 5th to April 1st, includes high profile films from world renowned filmmakers like Peter Greenaway, Jacques Rivette, Neil Jordan, Catherine Breillat, Amos Gital, Bruno Dumont, Jan Hrebejk and Caroline Link. Moviegoers should take note of the fact that several of these titles won’t be screened outside of the EU festival in Chicago, making their appearance here all the more priceless.

The 13th Annual European Union Film Festival includes 59 feature films, all of which are making their Chicago premiere. If you’ve had your fill with Hollywood, or are
See full article at »

Indie Film Focus - Mid-August Lunch - Trailer, poster, images for the Zeitgeist Films release.

Back to indie film. Now our current film focus is on Gianni Di Gregorio's "Mid-August Lunch" (a.k.a. "Pranzo di Ferragosto") which Zeitgeist Films distributes in the U.S. The cast is frontlined by Gregoria who is joined by Valeria De Franciscis, Marina Cacciotti,Maria Calì, Grazia Cesarini Sforza, Alfonso Santagata, Luigi Marchetti, Marcello Ottolenghi and Petre Rosu. Simone Riccardini writes alongside Di Gregorio.The film had its premiere at the 2008 Venice Film Festival and is a multiple award winner including taking home three awards at the Venice Fest. The charismatic Gianni Di Gregorio (co-scenarist of the smash hit Gomorrah), stars in his directorial debut—an utterly charming tale of good food, feisty ladies and unlikely friendships during a very Roman holiday. Broke, and armed with only a glass of wine and a wry sense of humor, middle-aged Gianni resides with his 93-year-old mother in their ancient apartment.
See full article at »

See also

Credited With |  External Sites

Recently Viewed