The story of Pascal Ichak, a larger-than-life French traveller, bon vivant, and chef, who falls in love with Georgia and a Georgian princess in the early 1920s. All is well until the ... See full summary »
The story of Pascal Ichak, a larger-than-life French traveller, bon vivant, and chef, who falls in love with Georgia and a Georgian princess in the early 1920s. All is well until the arrival of the Red Army of the Caucasus, as the Soviet revolution that has swept Russian comes to Georgia. Told as a flashback from the present, as a French-Georgian man whose mother was Pascal's lover translates his memoirs for Pascal's niece. Written by
Michael C. Berch <email@example.com>
A French chef (a great performance by Pierre Richard) goes to Georgia at the turn of the 20th century to look for new tastes. He meets a woman, they fall in love, he opens a restaurant, and then the Russian Revolution spills into the country. This story is told in flashback as a modern-day art dealer preparing a Pirosmani exhibition reads about his family's past. A CHEF IN LOVE is the only Georgian film ever nominated for an Oscar, and it's easy to see why. It has sumptuous photography (by one of the best Georgian cinematographers, Giorgi Beridze) and the sort of historical love story they seem to go to pieces over, yet it also plays everything very safely and forces some notion of "exoticism" on itself while sticking to a plot that feels right at home in the Hollywood cookie factory. I liked it more than the other Djordjadze film I've seen, 27 MISSING KISSES, but I found something curiously hollow about the presentation. I also thought the flashback structure was pretty useless, except to introduce a dramatic third-act revelation that anyone who has ever seen a movie will be able to predict within the first five minutes of the film. Still, with so much great footage of Georgia and all the wonderful music and food (this movie made me extremely hungry) and the addition of Richard's great work, I find it difficult to dislike, and I don't think it should be avoided, especially when it's probably easier to find in the USA than any other Georgian film.
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