The Italian Cultural Society March film of the month is The Salt of Life (2012). The Brandini bunch from the hit comedy Mid August Lunch (2010) are back! Crushed into their Roman apartment are the 63 year old wandering eyes of Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio), his patronizing wife (Elisabetta Piccolomini), party girl daughter Teresa (Teresa Di Gregorio), her musician boyfriend Michelangelo (Michelangelo Ciminale) and their dog Pallina. Of course, this means the return of the flashy silk dressed 96 year old commanding diva Valeria (Valeria de Franciscis Bendoni). We find Gianni now hates to hear the telephone ring because the odds are it’s his spendthrift mother summoning him to her mansion to run the entertainment center and serve lunch at her backyard poker parties. Trying everything he can to get out of it, Valeria always wins by pretending to feel a sudden drop in blood pressure while she covers the phone to sip champagne and wait for Gianni to give in. The laughs abound with Valeria being served power of attorney papers, Michelangelo taking a wild motorcycle ride and Gianni swimming in a public fountain at night after accidentally drinking a spiked martini. Please join us for The Salt of Life in Italian with English subtitles.
Born, raised and still living in the Trastevere section of Rome, Director Gianni DiGregorio has had more ups and downs than the stock market. In 1973, Gianni graduated L’Accademia di Arti Sceniche and became an actor. Inspired by Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1976), he starts writing screenplays. After a decade of bombs, DiGregorio’s Looks Dead, but only Fainted (1986) wins Premio Fipresci at the Venice Film Festival and Carefree Giovanni (1986) wins Gran Prix du Juri at the Cannes Film Festival. Another decade of bombs would follow. In 1998, DiGregorio wrote his masterpiece Mid August Lunch, but everyone at Cinecitta` yelled “Fallimenti” thinking this would be just another failure. The box office success of Gomorrah (2007), which he co-wrote, revived his career and Mid August Lunch went into production. Why attempt a sequel? “The film is a way of exercising my fears. The Salt of Life is autobiographical. My daughter is very shy, so she didn’t want a role. Pallina is my dog.” -Gianni DiGregorio