THIS SHORT, SWEET slice of geriatric life takes place over several days in the apartment of an Italian bachelor who unwillingly finds himself housing four elderly women. Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio, who also wrote and directed the film) hasn't paid his electric bill in years, and so his landlord cuts him a deal: Gianni's debts will be forgiven if he agrees to play host to the landlord's aging mother during the August holidays. But the landlord's mom brings her sister, and then Gianni's doctor's mother needs a place to stay too... and Gianni, who already lives with his own mother, suddenly finds his home overrun with elderly women. Apparently they're like vampires, and just need to be invited in.
The four geezers who invade Gianni's home are creakily charming, as they bicker and overshare and take blithe advantage of Gianni's strained-but-genial hospitality. Gianni, meanwhile, retreats often to the kitchen to swill white wine and cook ridiculously appetizing meals.
Mid-August Lunch offers little in the way of narrative, but time passes quickly in the company of its four non-actor stars. Refreshingly, the women here aren't reduced to cantankerous stereotypes, but are instead allowed to be people, albeit people with brittle bones and stringent dietary requirements.