Judge P.S. Colbert prefers his Spaghetti-Os with sliced franks.
Gianni is back and looking for love…
Talk about the magic of movies: The Salt of Life successfully manages—within a visual medium, mind you—to tell the story of a man becoming invisible in plain sight!
Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio, Mid-August Lunch) is a sixty two year old pensioner, having been "made to retire" at fifty due to economic downsizing. His days generally consist of preparing breakfast and running errands for his working wife (Elisabetta Piccolomini), and college-bound daughter (Teresa Di Gregorio). There's also the matter of his constant scurrying to the aid of his wealthy ninety six year old mother (Valeria De Franciscis), despite the fact that he's barely scraping by financially, and she employs a full-time caretaker.
In essence, Gianni has been made a cuckold by the women of his life. Worse yet, he's discovered his attractiveness to women has worn itself thin to transparency. How else do you explain a man walking two dogs being able to pass through a crowd of females on the street without garnering a single backward glance?
Sound depressing? Gianni, with his basset-hound features (the bags under his eyes could comfortably accommodate most executive wardrobes), exhibits some symptoms of malaise, but not enough to put a damper on his singular wit, or the gorgeous domestic Italian settings, all shot in natural light to bring out the true warmth of the surroundings.
As was the case with his Mid-August Lunch debut, The Salt Of Life keeps to a deliberately small scale, confined to the quaint downtown area of historic Rome where he lives (on and off-screen), and encourages its cast to give their own first names to the characters they play, while improvising freely, thus keeping their interactions from seeming like contrivances.
For their part, Zeitgeist Films has done a marvelous job transferring this beautiful film onto DVD with a flawless 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix is sturdy enough to catch the nuances of the flying Italian dialogue, while giving full rein to composer Ratchev E. Carratello's wonderfully evocative score.
The nuts and bolts of this operation are thoroughly illuminated by a pair of interchangeable extras, one officially labeled "20 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Footage," the other a "New Interview" with the director, who also discusses the film for the accompanying booklet. You've got a pop quiz on Gianni Di Gregorio, you say? Consider this package your Cliff Notes!
With only two films under his belt, director Gianni Di Gregorio has proven himself to be a master of micro-filmmaking.
Give us your feedback!
Scales of Justice
Studio: Zeitgeist Films
Review content copyright © 2012 P.S. Colbert; Site design and review layout copyright © 2015 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.