Life is often just "for sake of" and we need to know about it and want to benefit when we are presented with the occasion to. A bit for "sake of", a bit for choice, Rosalba, young and apart from anything a housewife of Pescara, during a bus trip after she found herself alone and...forgotten in a highway café, decides not to wait for her husband and sons to come back to pick her up but instead decides to find her own way home. She is a little offended that she has been forgotten by her family and has been told by her husband to stay put so, rebelling a little she finds herself hitch-hiking direct for Venice. Her adventure in Venice begins meeting strange but fascinating people. Fermo; an anarchistic florist, Grazia; a masseuse and Fernando; a waiter from Iceland that speaks his own language of Italian. Written by
I fell in love again with Italy and European mature-woman idolatry.
Recently Charlotte Rampling in `Under the Sand' and Tilda Swinton in `The Deep End' remind us that European cinema has long portrayed middle-age women as desirable in a way immature American men are unaccustomed, so conditioned are we to a youth culture that adores naughty teenage waifs and jaded 20-somethings.
Now the Italian `Bread and Tulips' introduces us to the attractive Licia Maglietta as the middle-aged housewife refugee finding love and friendship in Venice. Although the setup of this film left me fidgeting for action, when I saw her liberated from her family and slowly begin her renewal, I fell in love again with Italy and European mature-woman idolatry. I don't know if it's the ample breasts, knowing smiles, or willingness to sass that gets my attention, or maybe all of the above. I do know 2 hours of these savvy women are far more satisfying than any days with Julia Roberts or Kirsten Dunst.
Let me not ignore the true man in this tale: Bruno Ganz, the angel from `Wings of Desire,' plays brooding waiter Fernando, ready at any moment to hang himself until Rosealba renews his love of love and epic verse. Ganz is a marvel of understated acting, a perfect companion to the romantic Rosealba.
The inevitable comparison between director Silvio Soldini and Woody Allen, with their genial sense of city and women, is appropriate, especially considering the similarity between Soldini's romantic Venice and Allen's lyrical Paris in `Everyone Says I Love You.'
`Bread and Tulips' received several David Di Donatello Awards, the Italian version of the Oscars, for best picture, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, director, and three others. To see Rosealba go from frumpy mom to bohemian accordion and tulip player is worth wading through a boring Wayne Knight, wanabee plumber cum detective or over the top, philandering, bourgeois bathroom fixtures magnate husband. Some of this stuff is downright dull slapstick, a little like the sophomoric stumbling of `Life is Beautiful,' but when Rosealba smiles, it's very good.
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