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The Salt of Life

There's little revealed in this contemplation of one middle-aged Italian man's life

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Gianni — forced into retirement at 50, and now in his 60s — has time on his hands and a lot of female troubles: He's juggling too many of them, and he's not sure he can handle it any more.

Unfortunately, unlike all of his other male friends — young, old and blue-track-suit very old — he's not sleeping with any of them. He and his handsome working wife have separate beds. His daughter brings her sweet slacker boyfriend home every night. His near-centenarian mother overspends her dwindling resources, and her hottie servant dreams about Gianni — only she dreams that he's her grandfather.

In the bittersweet Italian comedy The Salt of Life, director/writer/actor Gianni Di Gregorio names his protagonist after himself and then steps into the role of a hapless, baggy-eyed fellow who's lost every drive a man can have. "Get on with it," one older friend tells him, urging him to have an affair like everyone else. Easier said. And so for 90 ambling minutes, Di Gregorio contemplates one man's monotonous life, leading to a punch line that doesn't tell us much more than everything that came before it, and never suggesting why Gianni is so afflicted when the people around him are all still bon vivants. In Italian, with subtitles. Starts Fri., April 6. Regent Square

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