Imagine Thanksgiving magnified—not the turkey or the football or even the booze, but that grinding family tension. Now amplify that magnification, because, at least stereotypically, Italians can be loud. That’s Ferragosto, a tradition dating back thousands of years in Italy, and it’s ground zero for Mid-August Lunch
, a disarming if uncomplicated film about one man (writer-director-star Gianni Di Gregorio) sweating bullets as he tries to keep all the plates spinning on tiny poles like some parlor trick. Already facing a long holiday with his mother, Gianni inherits mothers of landlords and doctors—spun in his direction due to his financial problems—and other hangers-on. Hollywood would screw up this movie, forcing one big conflict or stressing one major epiphany, but Mid-August Lunch
is content to focus on its characters, no matter where they go from here.