Film: SALT OF LIFE (Gianni e le Donne)
UK Release Date: 12th August 2011
Bonus: Q & A with director / co-writer / actor Gianni Di Gregorio
Venue: Curzon, Mayfair
Gianni Di Gregorio
Valeria de Franciscis Bendoni
Teresa Di Gregorio
Distributed by Artificial Eye
Official Site: http://www.artificial-eye.com
I had a decision. A film or a farewell meal for a friend. I must add that this friend was having many a farewell do and this was almost ‘just another one’.
It turned out though, that after half-cancelling my acquired place at this Premiere screening I could now in fact attend both the movie and the meal.
It was going to be tight but I knew I could do both of the events. So, I proceeded to head to the Curzon, Mayfair. It was now a case of a Cancelled and Re-Claimed prize… Indeed, would a seat be there with my name on it, or not? It was there… In fact, I was ultimately informed that I could sit anywhere inside the auditorium.
But until such time, I was seated in the bar and reception area of this fine establishment. I was a tad excited to see such a movie – but one I knew little about. Whilst there I witnessed many an Italian person arrive [obviously], as well as English and a fidgety old woman who appeared to have lost something. Or her mind… Bless her.
I can’t say that the staff behind the bar were stupid, or clever but I’m sure I heard one of the guys tell a customer that “Salt Of Life” is an animated film. Really? Solely based on the animated poster? Silly man, although perhaps I’m also that man, as I believed him! [So much so that when the film later begun I thought it was perhaps going to transition away from live action to animation – This would then be in line both with it’s movie poster and a film still, or two I’d seen previously on the Curzon website: http://www.curzoncinemas.com]
Ultimately, I placed myself in the front row of what is, incidentally the best Curzon screen I’ve experienced. However, this was too close really – Especially for some of the early shaky camera work. Of course, it was also great to be fully immersed in the proceedings.
This being the UK Premiere & Preview, director Gianni Di Gregorio introduced the film and explained, with the aid of a translator that he made it at a certain age when he realised women had stopped looking at him.
Without further a do, and spoiling as little as possible I’ll describe this movie to you.
Here we have a middle aged man and a much older woman, clearly his mother. They appear to be speaking with a lawyer or more so probably an executor [that’s the pronounciation as in law not in executing in the form of killing!]
It’s clear from early on that this man is a little low and frustrated at this time in his life. Is this all there is? Whatever happened? Where has gone his ability to attract – or even attempt to attract – women? Has it dwindled so much that some kind of analogy to a motor or mechanical part is required here? Yes. This is later, and more than once reflected in such a broken down vehicle. It’s fair to say that this vehicle keeps having the same problem. Hmmm…
So, what does a guy do in such a pickle? He surely doesn’t want to become ‘just one the many’ old guys out there, doing the same old thing, day after day. Such a character is shown which could demonstrate this monotonousness – this character is a guy who has trousers & hat which match in colour… And so matches his dog! [In colour, I mean… It’s not a trousers-and-hat-wearing dog! Come on, this film is lighthearted enough but not over the top!]
Dogs feature semi-heavily in this movie… And I’m in no way meaning the derogitory word for women (or men to come to think of it). No. We see a few different breeds of our four-legged friends. A great example of two such pets is shown not long into the story. Our protagonist is seen walking more than one such pet – much to the amusement of one girl seated behind me.
Our hero is naturally facing a midlife or latelife crisis. This is reflected greatly in many scenes, whether looking in the mirror, chatting to his best male friend, spending time with his much-demanding mother or taking a walk almost alongside a load of young female joggers.
Cherries are used in a great filmic way. Are these suggesting popping someone’s cherry, cherry-picking a fruit of his own choice, or simply indicating that he is not taking a second bite of the cherry? […like so many other men at his age, either in the movie or in real life…]
Indeed, had this film been made a couple of decades ago it could have been named “Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”…!
“What about the women?”, I hear you cry. Apart from some lovely females, including twins, a party-loving youngster, and a practising soprano we have the oldies. Although, one or two of the old women in the movie could be said to resemble men, except with a tad too much make-up. Surely not just my opinion here?
And what kind of modern film would this be without the mention or hint of Viagra? In fact, an almost too-brilliant-to-be-considered-coincidental moment comes along, giving a knew meaning to someone who has got ‘the horn’.
Sex. Drugs. Drugs? Yes. Drugs (both sexual and recreational), a pixies tune & gambling all feature half-heavily in this sublime picture. As do images [and memories, in my case anyway] of Rome.
Just when you wonder how the film will end, and as it approaches it’s modest and moderately lengthed run time, it hits you like a beautiful thunderbolt of euphoric lightning.
I couldn’t stay for the Q & A [I later heard it was wonderful] with the Italian director-slash-writer-slash-star.
So, Goodbye it was to this Salty Italian classic and onwards to say Farewell to a friend (leaving for Shanghai) over a Salty Chinese meal.
Find this trailer and other Minier [ok, that’s not a real word, but…] Movies here at: