Cinema: Brothel to Broth

Love a la Carte. As a veteran prostitute who has given up amore for omeletti, Simone Signoret lays down the house rules to her staff. "This is a restaurant, at least for the time being—don't waggle so much," she tells one hip-swiveling waitress. Borrowing its theme from a 1958 Italian law banning legalized brothels, Love purports to show what happens when four harlots open a restaurant in the country. Theirs is a modest establishment, designed to keep the girls off the street until they dare to resume plying their old trade upstairs.

Surprisingly, the...

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