Adriatico My Love

Wine, olives, fish and olive oil, Adriatico My Love is a charming romantic culinary comedy and sentimental journey back to a quaint Mediterranean village along the same lines as Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) and Mamma Mia! (2008). But don’t expect a slick Hollywood production like those films. This long in the making Canadian film was made on a shoestring budget using a mix of professional and non-professional actors.

Have digital camera, will travel. A Toronto based cooking show host and single mother Alex (Valerie Buhagiar), whose career is in jeopardy when her producers threaten to pull the plug after the show’s ratings drop, decides that now is the time to take the show to a whole new level. 

Filmed in the ancient historical town of Stari Grad, which literally means ‘Old Town’ and is one of the oldest in Europe, located on the island of Hvar, Croatia, this story will appeal to many Canadians who have roots in Europe and eventually get the irresistible urge to return to the homeland.  

Taking her show on the road, Alex decides to bring along her reluctant daughter Lucy (Dorian Kolinas) and seek out the authentic local cuisine of this small Adriatic settlement where she once had a romantic fling as a young teenager.

The film has a home video quality that’s a little rough around the edges, especially in the beginning stages, but is totally in keeping with the documentarian feel of a TV hostess who brings a video camera on a European trip, not knowing what to expect. 

After arriving at a picturesque rundown village nestled in the seaside shores of the Adriatic Sea, troubled daughter Lucy is ready to return home when their accommodations turn out to be an uninhabitable ruin. However, they quickly warm to the endearing village characters as they acclimatize to their new rustic surroundings.

Director Nikola Curcin allows this gentle story to unfold organically and gives the multicultural cast freedom to experiment and improvise. The cooking scenes, mixed with stunning natural village scenery and accompanied by traditional music, have a fun travelogue quality that keeps the tone light and enjoyable to watch.

Relying on the hospitable locals to put them up in a temporary lodging, mother and daughter begin filming footage for the show, and with the help of some citizens, the two foreign women eventually start discovering the charming local flavors while capturing townsfolk in their natural surroundings as they cook customary dishes. 

This type of film is not easy to make on such a tight sparse budget, but the makers of this film have somehow managed to pull it off quite well under the less than ideal circumstances.

While Alex secretly searches the island for someone from her past, she hides a family secret from her daughter, who makes some romantic connections of her own. But as in real life, some of the mysteries and relationships in the film are not fully explained and left to the audience’s imagination. 

One of the major attractions of this film is the allure of the breathtaking island locations, which gives one a real sense of having been to a unique magical place. Despite the films unpolished homemade look, its heart is in the right place and in the end, our time with the characters pays off as we see them genuinely bond and grow, and become part of an intimate isolated community.



Kathy Crowley-Gardner said...

Huh. I never heard of this film. Your review intrigued me. Now I must find it and see it. Thanks.

Garry Rogers said...

Good review. As Kathy said, I will have to look for this film. Thank you.

Joanne McAlpine said...

I love Under the Tuscan Sun (not a fan of Mama Mia) I would love watching movies that does not take place in the states. I feel I am swept away to somewhere else :) Alas, it's not playing near me and will have to wait till it's out on video.

Ashley Faulkes said...

Sounds like a great film. I loved Croatia and such Med scenery and food is awesome!! Nice of you to share on Bloggers for bloggers BTW!! have a great week, ashley

MK Slagel said...

For some reason, as soon as I saw the picture associated with the film and read the first paragraph, I got that warm and fuzzy feeling that only a film like this could give you. It brought me back to a few years ago when I was huge into films like this. Add in the location and I would add this to my list of must sees. I have traveled to and love the area where this is set. It will definitely bring me back.

JP said...

I'm posting this on Johnny's behalf since he wasn't able to leave a comment.

@John. You review was great. Loved the story, and how the movie was filmed. I'm also working on a low budget film. You have inspired me to go forward. Blessings.

By Johnny (Parrilla) Velazquez, PhD

JP said...

I'm posting this comment on Sandra's behalf as she also had trouble leaving her comment.

'I'm so happy you informed me about this movie. It's my cup of tea. I love cooking and traveling so I'm hoping I can get this on Netflix.'

Sandra Sallin