In this wonderfully wooly tale about rediscovering one’s roots, a young Montrealer arrives in a small Italian village to scatter her mother’s ashes, and finds herself embroiled in a bizarre series of family histories and feuds.
Contemporary World Cinema
Tulipani, Love, Honour and a Bicycle
Mike van Diem
A wonderfully woolly tale of rediscovering one's roots — and rectifying a decades-old wrongdoing, to boot — Tulipani, Love, Honour and a Bicycle has more fantastic twists than its title has nouns.
It is 1980, and young Montrealer Anna (Ksenia Solo) is embarking on what will prove to be a life-altering adventure. It was her mother's dying wish to have her ashes returned to her hometown in Italy. Anna finds the people of Puglia waiting with open arms and flapping gums. Her mother's old friend Immacolata (Lidia Vitale) is a particularly gifted storyteller with a penchant for exaggeration who might fudge the details but somehow gets us closer to the heart of things. She tells of how Anna's father Gauke (Gijs Naber) biked from the Netherlands to Italy, introduced Dutch irrigation practices to Puglia, forged a successful enterprise growing and selling tulips, and bravely faced off armed extortionists with blistering kung fu moves. (Alright, that last part might be pushing it a little.) Immacolata also makes other, more sombre claims, ones that will shake up Anna's entire sense of identity and prompt her to settle some old scores on her parents' behalf.
Bursting with colour and romance and teeming with charming performances — including one from Oscar nominee Giancarlo Giannini as an exceedingly patient detective — Tulipani, Love, Honour and a Bicycle is a story about travelling far to know who you are, and about the joys and consolations of storytelling itself.