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TORONTO 2017 Contemporary World Cinema

Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle: When dreams come true


- TORONTO 2017: The new comedy from Dutch director Mike van Diem is a whimsy-soaked tale about a young Canadian woman’s Italian roots

Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle: When dreams come true
Ksenia Solo and Gijs Naber in Tulipani, Love, Honour and a Bicycle

The Contemporary World Cinema section of the Toronto International Film Festival provided the occasion for the world premiere of the new comedy from Dutch filmmaker Mike van DiemTulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle [+see also:
film profile
 is a sweet and gentle medley of oral commentaries on the family tree of a young Canadian woman named Anna (Ksenia Solo). 

Although the film belongs firmly in feel-good comedy terrain, our heroine’s adventures begin in the aftermath of one of the saddest days of her life. Lying on her deathbed, Anna’s mother makes her promise that she will carry out her final wishes — and deliver her ashes to the inhabitants of a remote Italian village. Anna embarks on a journey from Montreal to Puglia, unaware that she is about to discover the identity of her father and her family’s true story.

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Set in the 1980s, the story is pieced together through flashbacks linked to appearances by spontaneous narrators who either offer new information or temper the exaggerations of their predecessors. The result is a cheerful, polyphonic confection, wrapped up in a bundle of effervescent whimsy.

Viewers will quickly realise that the part of the narrative that brings Anna to Puglia is just the pretext for the introduction of the second story that gives the film its name. As the title suggests, van Diem’s latest feature is really a saga about the arrival of Anna’s father Gauke (Gijs Naber) to this same village many years earlier, told through the four elements that sum up his life: the bicycle on which he arrived in Italy from Holland, his love for Anna’s mother, the sprawling tulip fields that sustained his export business and the honour he showed in standing up for his love and his livelihood despite being an immigrant in a foreign land.

Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle is an ode to hope — a fable about those dreams that really do come true.

Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle is a co-production by Fatt Productions and Draka Productions. International sales are being handled by Atlas International Film GmbH.

(Translated from Spanish)

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