“Fernando: I hope it’s to your liking.“
“Always better than a Chinese.“
” I am sorry to contradict you, madam, but the Chinese are the greatest restaurateurs in the world.“
Last week I subscribed to MUBI, a curated streaming service that showcases a series of movies from emerging and established filmmakers on a global scale. With the beginning of the new year, MUBI is offering a subscription discount; since I have always been curious about this streaming platform because I love what I like to call “cinéma d’auteur” (arthouse cinema), I decided to subscribe and am very happy about the service.
There are hundreds and hundreds of movies to peruse on MUBI and the platform also notifies you when new ones are available or when they are about to expire. This way I came across an Italian movie that I had previously heard about, a little gem from 2000 titled Bread and Tulips (Pane e Tulipani in Italian) and directed by Silvio Soldini. The movie won critical acclaim when it first came out and it is now considered one of Italy’s best cult movies. ever made; it was restored by Istituto Luce-Cinecittà in 2020 and its restoration enhanced even more the beautiful photography by cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, who also worked in every movie directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
Bread and Tulips is the story of Rosalba, a neglected housewife who is left behind by her family in a highway café while on a bus trip. At first she hitch-hikes trying to get back home but then she meets a series of bizarre characters, including a boy to whom she confides that she has never been to Venice and that she would like to visit the city. Having arrived in Venice, Rosalba comes into contact with various local characters, even finding work as a florist’s helper; not only is her life influenced by these people, but their lives are also influenced by her. All this happens as her husband tries to bring her back to Pescara, where she is from, by having a plumber who improvises as an investigator track her down.
The film is introspective while also having the appearance of a modern fairy tale (in one scene I noticed a subtle reference to Cinderella); it promotes the importance of freedom and not being trapped by social conventions that make us dissatisfied, unhappy and don’t make us feel like we matter. It is a journey of self-discovery and the world outside, as it shows how sometimes life redirects us towards a more authentic path that gives purpose to our existence.READ MORE
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