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The Salt of Life
Gianni e le donne
Directed by Gianni Di Gregorio
Italy, 2011
Cornerhouse, 14 August 2011

The Salt of Life

In this bittersweet film we once again meet Gianni, the dutiful son of the earlier Mid-August Lunch.

He has been given a wife and a daughter here; they were not in evidence before, if memory serves.  And Gianni Di Gregorio’s hangdog face, so expressive and so reminiscent of the late great Frankie Howard, has become if anything even more of a human monument.

It’s a wonderful tragicomedy, a film whose subject is inherently both sad and comic: a middle-aged man feels the pangs of desire, the ache of wonder and the awe that necessitates worship, when confronted with the beauty of the female form.  He feels this ache more acutely as the years have passed, if anything.  The tone is bittersweet rather than outright cheery, and all the better for that.  An exhilarating film and a classic theme perfectly rendered.