Tulips and the Netherlands make for a colurful backdrop and central theme for the film Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle, showing in September at The Vic Theatre. Courtesy Victoria Film Festival

KATHY KAY: A gem of film fest season arrives in September

Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle was a smash hit at the 2017 TIFF and Vic Film Festvival

Kathy Kay

Monday Magazine columnist

For those of us who can’t fly to Venice, the Film Festival season kicks off in Canada with the Toronto Film Festival in early September. Vancouver takes the spotlight at the end of that month and there are a multitude of fall fests that include Calgary, Atlantic, and Sudbury (more fun than you’d imagine) while Victoria sticks out for its February date.

Festival season offers a great opportunity to get an early taste of the films that are going to dominate the theatres over the next year. You can see everything from an expected mainstream hit like Bradley Cooper’s take on A Star is Born (remake #4) to the latest from the director of the Academy Award winning Ida, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, a romance set in postwar Eastern Europe.

A goodly number of films premiere at Toronto and often get lost in the mix. It goes to other festivals to sort through and champion smaller films that might otherwise get missed, even though they are so worthy of attention. It breaks your heart when they don’t find an audience.

One breakout film from 2017 TIFF and the 2018 Victoria Film Fest is finally making its return, after being a smash hit replete with lineups and repeated requests for more screenings.

Sometimes I think the producers are their own worst enemies, but The Vic Theatre has finally wrangled more screenings and so at long last Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle makes its return to Victoria.

Director Mike Van Diem’s film is old-fashioned, refreshing and creates a wonderfully engaging tale that travels across three countries to reveal a fantastical family history.

Anna (Ksenia Solo) has arrived in Italy to return her guardian’s ashes to her hometown. What she didn’t count on was learning the story of her parents, which, with years of retelling, has taken on shall we say, a certain exaggerated flair.

About to be arrested for murder by the police inspector (the ever so charming Giancarlo Giannini), Anna and two neighbours begin the tale of how Anna’s father Gauke (Gijs Naber) biked from the Netherlands to Italy, introduced Dutch irrigation practices to Puglia, built a successful business growing and selling tulips, and bravely fended off armed extortionists with epic kung fu moves (yes, really).

There are also much darker moments, ones that will prompt Anna to settle some old scores on her parents’ behalf.

Tulipani is a triumph of imagination and the use of the surreal creates an other-worldliness which makes for a downright playful film.

Kathy Kay is director of the Victoria Film Festival.

Just Posted

Bill Gaston, Monique Gray Smith capture Victoria Book Prizes for 2018

Butler Book Prize and Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize winners collect $5,000 each

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Most Read