Sunday, March 11, 2012
THE SALT OF LIFE
Expecting a whimsical comedy, harboring vague recollections of the subtle humor of "Mid August Lunch," I was surprised to find "The Salt of Life," by actor/writer, director Gianni Di Gregorio a sadly melancholy - (albeit- lifelike, no doubt) portrait of a polite, kind, aging man who unsuccessfully yearns for a romantic relationship. There is what some might consider a plethora (one of my favorite words!) of buxom females, in the shops, on the streets, upon whom Gianni looks, not so much with lust, as with true Italian male appreciation and longing. Everyone in the cast is perfectly suited to his or her role. Gianni spends time with his daughter's on again-off-again boyfriend (currently living in the house with them, an arrangement which Dad accepts as natural. He spends time discussing life with him, and also with his lawyer friend, smoothly, easily played by Alfonso Santagata. Once again, the wealthy, aged (over 90) mother of Gianni is a scene stealer. She phones him incessently, claiming to be ill, and of course, he comes running. Gianni walks his young neighbor's dog along with his own. He's just too nice and people take advantage of him. The film showcases Di Gregorio's mesmerizing presence, puffy bags under hiseyes and all, and paints an all too realistic picture of his lonliness and fear of growing old. There is kind of a "happy ending" -- sort of. Anyway, as a drama, it's excellent, as a comedy-- no, not really.