Fifteen hundred years ago, the Barbarians marched down to Rome and changed the way the latter empire runs. This is a micro version of that, and set in 1953. But before we get to that year we have to move a bit forward to 1980.
Anna (Ksenia Solo), lives in Montreal with her mother Chiara (Rita Montes). But Chiara dies as old people do. The death of a protagonist’s mother also happens in Mike van Diem’s previous film The Surprise.
And here in Tulipani, Love, Honour and a Bicycle, this death serves as a catalyst for future events. It will also let Anna learn about previous deaths connected to her story. But this movie isn’t depressing. There’s something even touristy about it.
It also speaks to the interconnected nature of Europe as a whole, which makes personal histories more complex. Anna discovers this when she follows Chiara’s wishes to spread her ashes back to Italy. There she finds out who she really is.
Chiara isn’t Anna’s mother, as a woman named Immacolata (Lidia Vitale) tells her. Immacolata takes the story back to 1953, to Anna’s real mother, Ria (Anneke Sleuters), wife of Gauke (Gijs Naber). He’s the Dutch Barbarian tulip farmer and local legend.
Although harmless, the film can be too lighthearted for its own good. I’m not sure if it deserves the cinematic treatment that it gets here. But as Anna says in the end, her story is a good one. One the movie tells gloriously in Italian, English, and Dutch.
- Release Date: 9/8/2017