Taiwanese love triangle inspires The Soul of Bread
Some works of art are inspired by love, others by heartache and rejection. Taiwanese movie The Soul of Bread was made as a result of the latter. In the romantic comedy, a baker living in a small town is threatened with losing his childhood sweetheart when a handsome, Taiwanese-French bread maker arrives.
“When I was in Kaohsiung, I liked a girl, but she liked an American-born Chinese,” Pin-Chuan Kao, who wrote and codirected The Soul of Bread with Chun-Yang Lin, told the Georgia Straight when reached at his office in Taipei. “I was quite jealous that local girls seemed to go for American-born Chinese guys and not me. I just wanted to write a story where a local man wins the hearts of the local women.”
In The Soul of Bread, which was released in Taiwan earlier this year and will be screened during the Your Kontinent Richmond International Film and Media Arts Festival (July 20 to 22), a love triangle develops between Gao-Bing (Han-Dian Chen), his girlfriend Ping (Michelle Chen), and celebrity bread maker Bread (Anthony Neely), whose name is pronounced “Brad” in the movie. Gao-Bing is satisfied with his sleepy-town life, running a quiet bakery handed down to him by Ping’s father—who would rather spend his time fronting a cheesy lounge-rock band—and marrying his childhood crush. Meanwhile, Brad, who brings a recipe for a magical libido-igniting baguette to the bakery, sweeps Ping off her feet and manages to persuade her to run away with him to Paris. When Ping’s father suggests that Gao-Bing and Bread face off in a baking contest for the best bread, Gao-Bing sees this as his last chance to win over Ping.
“We like movies that are based on a true storyline, about things that happen on a daily basis to regular people,” Lin, who was on the same phone call as Kao, told the Straight. The directors named mid-century flicks The Shop Around the Corner and Sabrina, which also has a love-triangle scenario, as two movies that inspired their romantic comedy.
While The Soul of Bread story was guided by classic films, an international soundtrack that includes classical music, 1940s French songs, and even Latin dance beats gives the movie a contemporary feel—which the directors hope will help Western audiences connect to the film.
“I am actually really interested to see how Western cultures will see our film,” Lin said. “In my mind, I think that a story where two men are fighting over one girl is not a typical Taiwanese story. That might happen everywhere in the world.”
The Soul of Bread will be screened on July 22 during Theatre Under the Sky, a free outdoor movie presentation at the Richmond Cultural Centre’s Minoru Plaza (7700 Minoru Gate) that includes animated film Lost and Found. The Your Kontinent festival is organized by the City of Richmond and Cinevolution Media Arts Society, and features more than a dozen international films, multimedia performances, and workshops over three days at various Richmond venues.
Watch the trailer for The Soul of Bread.