Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Mid-August Lunch

I love it when you're browsing in a shop and something catches your eye and straight away you know you've found something really special. That's how I felt when I was looking for some fresh film inspiration the other day and I saw the cover of this dvd and I was sold! I LOVE it even more when you get that special something home and it yields more than your greatest expectations - it's the same with books.

Gianni Di Gregorio kills two birds with one stone, maybe even three birds for me because I love autobiography, food and the elderly and he does a beautiful job of telling an incredible story mixing all three ingredients to make the most superb Mid-August Lunch!

'I love thinking about my childhood because old age offers so little, so you wander back through the years. I love remembering.'
Quote from Gianni Di Gregorio's Mid-August Lunch

I disagree with the character here that 'old age offers so little', infact in saying so she makes me want to give her a big loving squeeze! On the contrary, I have all my life felt so blessed by the life experience of those who have already 'lived' and have so much to share and bestow. People like my Grandma Peppermint as well as strangers that I have sat next to on buses and trains and older men and women that I have met in parks or started chatting to after reaching high shelves for them in supermarkets. The very lovely Jean and her dog Jess, who I became close to after walking past her window daily when I used to take Zach out for a walk when he was really little. Our little greeting ritual began with a wave then developed to a stop outside her flat and eventually to her coming out to give Zach his pocket money, covering both Zach and I in her sweet kisses and comforting scottish lilt!

Mid-August Lunch is a film about matriarchy, about mothers and sons and about an only child. It examines our disregard for the elderly, how they are so often viewed as burdensome. I guess if you don't particularly like the elderly then this is NOT a film for you. I sometimes forget that not everyone is a fan of the elderly, something that I often discuss with my good friend Roxy. She works with the elderly and she is a person who effortlessly values and champions this group, I love hearing her talk passionately about their status and role in our society. (I'm sorry Rox that I can't remember the 'right on' term for the elderly, I suspect that I subconsciously refuse to retain it!) I once even suggested that in her spare time she could write a blog about the elderly, remember Rox?! Perhaps this was going a little too far but one of the key things that we talk about is the fact that it's not cool to like old people. Am I wrong?

Culturally, the UK does not have the best reputation for its care of aging loved one's in the same way that other countries have it much more culturally embedded. A country like Italy (the country in which Mid-August Lunch is set) has traditionally taken care of its elderly (ie adult parents and adult children commonly co-existing under the same premises) however globally there are real concerns about 'what to do with them' particularly in the context of a busy culture which finds people juggling work and childcare and there being very unclear and undefined roles for this line of duty. I worry about what will become of all of these amazing and sure ... sometimes repetitive individuals. My sisters have often joked that our mother will end up with me as she grows elderly and to be honest I have always built that into my subconscious when I have loosely thought about the future, doesn't everyone?

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