If you don’t believe a pan of baked pasta can steal a scene, you need to go see Mid-August Lunch. It’s a wonderful Italian comedy that takes place in Rome during Ferragosto, a holiday that originally honored the goddess Diana before the Catholic Church co-opted it.
Gianni DiGregorio (no relation!) directs and stars as Gianni, an aging bachelor who lives in an apartment with his mother. Years behind on bills, Gianni makes a deal with his landlord that he’ll care for the landlord’s aging mother and aunt over the Ferragosto holiday in exchange for forgiveness of the debt. By another plot machination, he also ends up stuck with his doctor’s mother, filling the apartment with four hungry, mutinous old ladies. Lots of cooking and even more drinking-of-wine ensues, and the bit with the baked pasta is worth the price of admission.