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Lewes Film Club - Bread and Tulips

About three quarters of an hour into watching the DVD of Bread and Tulips, an Italian comedy which won nine Donatello (BAFTA equivalent) awards when it came out, I thought ‘if this film was set anywhere else but Italy, I’d have turned it off by now’. About five minutes later, I did. It was starting to annoy me. Bread and Tulips is an Italian Shirley Valentine, of sorts. The premise is this: a middle-aged housewife on holiday on a tour bus with her husband and kids gets left behind in a motorway service station because her family don’t notice she hasn’t got back on the coach. Annoyed, she decides to hitchhike back home. Thus liberated she changes plans, and pays a visit to Venice, where she gets a job and starts a new life.

So far, so bearable. The film starts to fall apart when her husband sends a detective-story-loving out-of-work plumber to the city to find her. This character is, frankly, ridiculous, and what seemed like it might be a likeable social comedy starts turning into a clunky farce. Reviewers have found Bread and Tulips ‘charming’ and ‘endearing’. The lead character (played by Licia Maglietta) is eminently likeable, her love interest (Bruno Ganz of Wings of Desire fame) is elegantly quirky. The setting, of course, creates a beautiful backdrop to the narrative. So why was I itching to turn it off, about halfway through? I just couldn’t stand all the silliness, that’s why: I expected subtlety, and all I got was fluff. DL


Bread and Tulips: Italian feelgoodery


Where?
All Saints centre, Lewes
When? 8pm
How Much? £4.50
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