Saturday, July 17, 2010

Under the Tuscan Sun

Katherine: Terrible idea. Don’t you just love those?
Frances: And the kitchen, what if there’s never anyone to cook for?
Signor Martini: It is San Lorenzo. He is the patron saint of cooks. Apparently, he was martyred on a grill and seared until he said, ‘Turn me over. I’m done on this side.’ … And now he is the favorite saint of chefs. … I think if you prayed to him, he will help you find someone to cook for.

In Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances (Lane) certainly does pray to Saint Lawrence: “My prayers to San Lorenzo were quickly answered. I realized I already had someone to cook for—plenty of someones!” And she cooks up enough Tuscan food to feed her crew of workers as they toil for many months to renovate Bramasole, the aging Italian villa she purchased impulsively (the so-called “terrible idea”) during a tour she received as a gift after a painful divorce. Although none of the food is described, and the director allows only the briefest glimpse of the meals, the viewer can recognize red pepper and balsamic bruschetta, prosciutto and melone, ribollita, stuffed artichokes, pizza, spaghetti, pears, various roasts, limoncello, and many other rustic and robust delectables. Viewers can also share the joy that Frances serves along with her wonderful cooking.

Fun Facts:
Lovers of ice cream will enjoy Katherine (Duncan), the Englishwoman who has relocated to Cortona in Tuscany. As she offers a taste of her gelato cone to Frances, she urges, “Taste this. It’s gorgeous.” And a few seconds later, she remarks, “Ice cream changed my fate.” What a lovely way to describe gelato!

Released September 26, 2003
Directed and written by Audrey Wells
Based on the book Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Starring Diane Lane as Frances, Sandra Oh as Patti, Lindsay Duncan as Katherine, Raoul Bova as Marcello, Vincent Riotta as Signor Martini

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