Friday, April 3, 2015
The Hundred-Foot Journey
This film intrigued me because the hero is the food. Every other character exists to make the hero look good. I'm taking a little detour from writing about my gastronomic adventures to delve into this cinematic character development. It's a departure from the theme of this blog, but I believe I'm justified based on the fact that the film is an ode to food, to cooking it, to eating it and to adoring it.
Based on the book of the same title written by Richard C. Morais, the film is the story of an Indian family who lose their restaurant in a fire and move to France to start over. The son, played by Manish Dayal, is a culinary genius, although he calls himself 'a cook'. The family opens the new establishment in a small French town right across (exactly 100 feet) from an exclusive Michelin-starred restaurant run by a stiff teacher played artfully by Helen Mirren. Naturally, competition gives way to cooperation and a happy ending for all.
My intention is not to write a critique of the film, the acting or the adaptation from the book. What I want to write about is the love story embedded in the movie. The central relationship is a passionate love affair with food. The cooking scenes are visually provocative. The sensual colors, the deliberately dramatic shots of enticing ingredients and rare spices, the Indian music, all intermix to create a seductive mood. People fall in love with each other too in this film, but those relationships are completely secondary to the hot-and-heavy romance everyone has with the food.
The enchanting sensory experiences are stimulated by the striking presentation of dishes like chicken Korma from Northern India, the classic Boef Bourguignon, Indian lamb stew, Tandoori chicken wings, Omelette aux Fine Herbs, and glazed fish fillet with curry sauce. The preparation of the food also entices with slow-motion egg-cracking and whisking, loving hands kneading and folding accompanied by a score of gentle violins.
The film starts a little slow and predictable, but then it develops into a surprisingly well-told story with food as the catalyst for love and self-discovery. A finger-licking-good piece of cinema.
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