Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday May 22, 2020 


When Rosalba Barletta (Licia Maglietta), an Italian housewife, accidentally gets separated from her family while on holiday, she decides to hitchhike and spend some rare time by herself, ending up in Venice. She has no money and nowhere to go, until the waiter who serves her, Fernando (Bruno Ganz), offers her his spare room for the night. Although she planned to spend only a couple of days in Venice, Rosalba soon finds a job in a florist shop and begins to build a new life for herself. But when she phones her husband Mimmo (Antonia Barletta) and tells him what she's doing, he's horrified and begins plotting ways to bring her back with the assistance Costantino (Giuseppe Battiston), who he hires to find his wife. 

Review by Louise Keller:
 It’s Shirley Valentine goes to Venice – sort of, whose characters are reminiscent at times of those in that wonderful French farce, The Dinner Game plus a touch of There's Something About Mary. 

The story is simply structured, beautifully told, while the characters feel very real and multi-layered. As for Maglietta, it’s easy to fall in love with her – she exudes warmth, sincerity, while her beauty is far more than skin deep. If you love Venice – and who doesn’t? – you’ll enjoy discovering its back streets, it’s flavours and character. The first glimpse we get of the city of canals is a reflection in Rosalba’s sunglasses, when we spy the famous tower in St Marco Square. In fact we don’t get to see much of the usual tourist haunts; with Rosalba, we are discovering the real Venice, from the point of view of someone who is making a go of living there. 

The humour is accumulative and evolves very naturally with its characters and how the plot. We get a satisfying insight – a snapshot – into the lives of all the main characters; the lonely restaurateur landlord who keeps a hangman’s noose under the bed; the needy new age masseuse; the gruff florist shop owner who won’t let customers buy the flowers of their choice; the mistress who refuses to iron the shirts while the wife’s away…. Giuseppe Battiston steals all the scenes, as Costantino, the plumber cum detective (Inspector Clouseau like), whose doting mother follows him everywhere on his mobile phone. And to make matters worse (or funnier), its ring sounds like The Flight of the Bumble Bee. Uplifting and deliciously funny, Bread and Tulips is a total delight.

Presented in widescreen, it’s a pleasure to settle down at home to watch this charmer: the emphasis is on the film itself as there are few features. But you can watch the US trailer or the Italian one and listen to three excerpts from the soundtrack: Bread and Tulips Shuffle, Pane & Tulipani and Rosa Y Clavel Avec La Mandolino. The stills gallery is pretty basic and you can view some upcoming Palace releases such as My Mother’s Smile, Unfair Competition and the charming Italian film The Last Kiss.

Email this article


Pane e Tulipani

CAST: Licia Maglietta, Bruno Ganz, Marina Massironi, Giuseppe Battiston, Felice Andreasi, Antonio Catania

DIRECTOR: Silvio Soldini

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16 x 9; English subtitles; 5.1 Dolby Digital

SPECIAL FEATURES: trailers, Star Biographies, Photo album

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: December 4, 2002

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020