Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day Sixty-nine - Bread and Tulips, or "When downtrodden housewives discover there's more to the world... bastardo husbands rightly suffer."

Have you ever had one of those rotten luck situations that manages to turn around due to your own ingenuity?

Rosalba has.

Forgotten by her vacationing family at a rest stop, unhappy Rosalba takes the opportunity to go on the trip to Venice that she's never gotten to, fully intending to go back home the next day.

But one day stretches to three and three days stretch to a whole new life for her in the City of Bridges.

She finds lodging with a despairing maitre d', manages to charm her way into a job arranging flowers with a cantankerous anarchist, and becomes fast friends with a Reiki masseuse.

Meanwhile, her husband only seems to care about the state of his household, his unpressed shirts, and messy kitchen. He sends a portly plumber as a cheap private detective substitute to track her down and bring her home.

Bread and Tulips is full of wonderful cliches. It definitely falls into that sub-genre of empty-nest awakening movies that in Hollywood usually star Barbara Streisand or Meryl Streep.

Rosalba (Licia Maglietta) starts the movie neurotic and unfashionable, sporting flashy silver clothes that you'd more likely see on chavs than anyone else and unsure of herself even in her brief moments of courage as she takes the plunge and heads to Venice instead of straight home after being forgotten at a rest stop.

As she begins making her new life, we see her reading, taking up an instrument, and generally just living life for herself instead of dedicated as a support drone for her family. Along the way, she manages to form fast friendships with several odd and endearing characters, including the loquacious maitre d' who eventually becomes her love interest.

That's not to say Bread and Tulips is a very passionate piece. There are moments here and there, but it's an oddly chaste movie. It takes Rosalba guiltily returning home, to resume her wifely duties, for her roommate/landlord Fernando to realize just how much brightness she's brought to his life. Only then, when he goes after her, do we hear anything, really, about love... and only during the credits, during a neighborhood block party, do we actually see a kiss, instead of the longing looks the movie has teased us with for the majority of the second and third acts.

For the most part, Bread and Tulips is blah. The story is alright, but the trappings and style are rather boring. Most annoying were the random dream sequences that pop up. They don't do much to make them distinct from reality, the craziest they get to distinguish them from the rest of the film is a blond wig for Rosabla's son. As such, the only cue that we were watching a dream was who happened to be in it, mostly in the form of her family back in Pescara.

It's cute, though... and has an authentic ring to it when you don't count the dreams. If you're looking for a self-contained and simple "reawakening" movie, you would definitely be okay with Bread and Tulips, but there are better ones out there.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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