The Taste of Things – REVIEW

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The Taste of Things - savour the flavour in this foodie film!

There’s little doubt that so much French cuisine is fantastic and there seems little that the French won’t eat. Snails, horse, frog’s legs they’ll eat anything except for Clorets. The Taste of Things is something of an ode to food and a pair of culinary maestros who compliment each other as perfectly as the dishes they prepare. Dodin (Benoit Magimel)  is a hugely respected food critic whose personal cook is Eugenie (Juliette Binoche) who is equally as  obsessive and in  love with food as he is. Yet he is also in love with her. Having been working together for 20 years they also live together and on occasion sleep together and yet she turns down his frequent proposals of marriage.

They are in love but we never really find out much about them. Here, their love is for food and there’s a remarkable almost wordless opening 38 minutes to the film where they prepare dishes for Dodin and his male companions who he invites over to enjoy the multiple course meals with him. The meals are so extravagant and so huge that after years of such indulgence it’s a wonder any of them can get through the door of his house. It’s an extraordinary and almost soothingly reassuring sequence, beautifully and almost sensually shot as Eugenie goes about preparing the food from a heap of fresh ingredients. It’s the antithesis to TV cook show ‘Can’t cook, Wont cook’ a show which our Editor appeared on and the bag of ingredients he bought along included a Mars bar, some Lego and a dead crow – it’s little wonder that show was never transmitted.

Based on Marcel Rouff’s novel The Life and Passion of Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet the film is  directed and co-written by Anh Hung Tran and is clearly a labour of love  running at epic length with his camera lovingly lingering over the preparation of ingredients  as they are excuisitely  prepared with both taking as much pleasure in the preparation of the dishes as they do eating them except Dodin is upstairs with his male  foodies and she is content to sit in the basement kitchen with a  13 year old  apprentice Pauline (Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire) already something of a child prodigy able to name many of the ingredients in a sauce that Eugenie has prepared.

The Taste of Things is thin on plot and much of what we learn about the characters are through their actions as they prepare and invent dishes. It’s a film that is far more than someone eating endlessly and if that’s what you’re after then the next Gemma Collins documentary would suffice. The Taste of Things almost fetishizes the food with its stunning photography and equally impressive production design making the onscreen food almost palpable and is a must for foodies to watch and savour the flavour.

related feature : Sam Riley chats about his new film, ‘She is Love’, improvising and being cast as Bond!

related feature : We talk to ‘Boiling Point’ director Philip Barantini about his restaurant based film starring Stephen Graham

Here’s The Taste of Things trailer…….

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