Bread and Tulips

Year: 2000
Production Co: Istituto Luce
Director: Silvio Soldini
Writer: Silvio Soldini/Doriana Leondeff
Cast: Licia Maglietta, Bruno Ganz

When I first saw the video cover for this film I thought the guy was Anthony Hopkins. Instead it turned out to be Bruno Ganz, in a very different role from that of Adolf Hitler in Downfall.

I had no idea it was foreign language but the picture on the cover of leads Fernando (Ganz) and Rosalba (Maglietta) dancing and happy promised a lovely story of finding love and romance in middle age.

When her noisy extended family leaves her behind at a highway rest stop on a bus holiday, Rosalba decides in her own quiet way that she's had enough. She decides on a whim to visit Venice and her indulgence/discovery grows into a romantic other life where she gets a job with a grumpy florist and brings sunshine into the lives of everyone she meets, including the soft-spoken and mysterious Fernando, whom she boards with.

Rosalba also makes friends with Grazia, a massage therapist, and has no idea her grouchy and controlling husband has enlisted the services of a buffoonish employee to try to find her. When he arrives in Venice, feeling like James Bond but looking more like a white Fat Albert, he'll be just as entranced by the romance of the city.

It rambles a bit here and there but think of it as a rose-hued Italian version of Eat Pray Love or American Beauty, a fable that reminds us how easy it is to forget we have a self to love and take care of and not just a bunch of external responsibilities.

It's a nice fantasy in beautiful surroundings, and despite her years Maglietta is so full of life and humour it makes her gorgeous.

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