Director: Gianni Di Gregorio

Cast: Giorgio Colangeli, Gianni Di Gregorio, Ennio Fantastichini,Roberto Herlitzka,Salih Saadin Khalid

Runtime: 92minutes

Synopsis: Three retirees decide to move away from Rome to find a better standard of living in a country where their meagre pensions will go that much further. Planning for the trip sees the trio trawl the pubs and restaurants of a sun saturated Rome and discover that even at an old age they can still learn one or two lessons about themselves and life.


This film is from veteran Italian director, screenwriter and actor Gianni Di Gregorio [who co-wrote the celebrated mafia drama, Gomorrah (2008) with Matteo Garrone; he starred in and directed Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo Di Ferragosto) (2008) which went on to win the debut director prize at the Venice film festival in 2008 and became an Italian arthouse hit;  The Salt of Life (Gianni e le Donne )(2011) the celebrated sequel to Mid-August Lunch and the lesser known Good for Nothing (Buoni a nulla)(2014)].

Now, with Citizens of the World, Di Gregorio returns to familiar themes and style – the gentle, likeable comedy of the ‘Gianni’ trilogy – this time with a meditation on the trials and uncertainties of ageing.

Three Roman seniors spend their time hanging around all day complaining because their modest pensions aren’t stretching very far. They comprise a retired classics teacher, nicknamed Professore (Di Gregorio himself), unemployed idler Giorgetto (Georgio Colangeli) and affable antiques dealer Attilio (played by the late Ennio Fantastichini, who died in 2018).

Though their pensions aren’t vast they have pleasant, even enviable lives, indulging in drinks and a familiar routine at regular haunts, where they are known and warmly welcomed. Suddenly they are up for an adventure. Unfortunately, their scheme is beset by impracticalities, and the men quickly find themselves scuppered by bureaucracy, lack of funds and, perhaps most problematically, their own disinclination.

Citizens of the World  shows the beauty of  Rome just as the men are bored and ignoring it.  Cinematographer Gogò Bianchi catches the beauty of local lesser known cobbled streets leading to Castel Sant’Angelo and the Colosseum, surrounding lakes and rural hideaways.

It seems inconceivable that two men like Giorgetto and the Professor, so set in their ways,  can summon the energy for change, leaving their pleasant community life to settle abroad – if they ever agree on a suitable location.

After a very funny episode when they consult with a local emminence (a wonderful cameo from  the celebrated Italian stage and screen actor Roberto Herlitzka) a client of Attillio who takes an eager interest in their plans and gives them a careful breakdown of the pros and cons of a surfeit of countries.

Citizens of the World is a superbly acted, tender comedy drama in which we find yet another version of Gianni from Di Gregorio – this time a retired Latin professor, who plots with two other pensioners to move to a country which will change their lives. Until, that is, a young African migrant (Salih Saadin Khalid) makes them rethink their plans.

Streaming on Curzon Home Video

Images courtesy of Curzon Artificial Eye