This movie tells a story so vibrantly sumptuous each still could be served as its own meal. Amidst the quaint Parisian street night, Fifi Koko (Emma de Caunes) runs a petty short order diner. Although her name is famous in chef circles, she has placed her uncanny culinary skills on the back burner as she falls prey to an existential quagmire that fears her talent shall not overcome the expectations her reputation has sown. The late hours play out as Fifi must face her talent and unrequited love for a friend, while a collective stream of colorful creatures of the night make through Fifi's consciousness to feed her with temptation, insight, and humor on the path of her life-defining decision.
If food is life, should one give their life for food?
Before The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Mr. Bean's Holiday or The Science of Sleep, there was Short Order. While it has just reached our shores a couple of months ago, it is not a new film. It is, however, a film for those who like fantasy and lightness and beauty.
Of course, the great beauty in all the films mentioned is Emma de Caunes, the star of this film; a short order cook who is actually a great chef, but is afraid to step out and let the world judge her. De Caunes is enjoyable in every film I have seen above, and she is most enjoyable here.
Running a close second is her friend in the film, played by Cosma Shiva Hagen, whom I have not seen before, but certainly want to search out.
The rest of the cast, which included John Hurt and Vanessa Redgrave, as well as an enchanting Tatiana Ouliankina in her first film added to this strange fantasy about life and food in a way that can only be appreciated by viewing; mere words do their performances no justice.
There are two themes running throughout: one the quest for the whale al la Moby Dick, and the continual referencing of sex and food. It is quite hilarious to hear those references, and made the film well worth watching.
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