Although it's told in a breezy fashion, The Salt of Life wishes to address dispiriting subject matter: an aging man's psychological trauma when he recognizes that he is no longer viewed as a sexual object by women. Yet director, co-writer and star Gianni Di Gregorio (Mid-August Lunch) barely scratches the subject's surface.
The character winces at the world through heavily lidded eyes; stares at his wrinkles in the mirror; tries a few yoga poses (which throw his back out); swallows a boner pill at the insistence of his wingman (Alfonso Santagata), who sends him out to a brothel; looks up old girlfriends - all of it is conventional movie material, and The Salt of Life adds little to the conversation.
Giovanni Brandori detto Gianni (Di Gregorio) has been forced into early retirement and now spends his days running errands for his wife, walking the dog, and responding to every beck and call of his rich, elderly mother (Valeria De Franciscis Bendoni, who served a similar function in Mid-August Lunch). He is in the constant company of women, but his virility is invisible to them, which has him worried that he's going to end up like the old guys in their tracksuits who sit on the corner all day leisurely gabbing and nursing their coffees.
At the movie's climax, he imbibes a spiked drink provided by the young woman downstairs, whose dog he frequently walks. We can tell Giovanni is pleasantly tripped out because he sits down in the middle of traffic and wades in a public fountain. These acts lead him to his lustful, hyperbolic fantasy conclusion, set to the tune of the Pixies' "Here Comes Your Man."
This Italian import definitely hits on truths infrequently addressed in the movies, but it may have greater resonance for the men of Casanova's native land than it does internationally.