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À la Carte! - Freiheit geht durch den Magen (Delicious, Délicieux)
France/Belgium 2021

Opening 25 Nov 2021

Directed by: Éric Besnard
Writing credits: Éric Besnard, Nicolas Boukhrief
Principal actors: Grégory Gadebois, Isabelle Carré, Benjamin Lavernhe, Guillaume de Tonquedec, Christian Bouillette

This movie, set in the French countryside in 1789, a few days before the storming of the Bastille and the beginning of the French Revolution, is truly 'delicious'. Using opulent photography and gorgeous colours, reminiscent of the paintings of old masters, it tells the story of the first ever French restaurant. Director Éric Besnard, famous for his movie The Sense of Wonder (Birnenkuchen mit Lavendel/Le Goût des Merveilles, 2015) created once more a sumptuous feast of the senses. Let it be excused that he used some artistic freedom, because in truth the arrival of the first restaurants began already around 1782, when several trade restrictions were lifted to ease the economic crisis. At the same time many nobles started heading abroad, sensing the nearing revolution, leaving their cooks suddenly unemployed.

In Besnard's story, Pierre Manceron (Grégory Gadebois) is the admired cook at the court of the Duke of Chamfort (Benjamin Lavernhe, of the Comédie Française). One day, however, he dares to surprise the Duke and his guests with a new invention of his, Le Délicieux, based on potatoes and truffles, which were considered the lowest of all vegetables, as they grow below the ground, and were thought to be 'of the devil' . A scandal, which resulted in Manceron being fired. He retreats to his farm, where he barely gets by, offering broth and bread to travellers that come through his village. That is, until one day a mysterious woman, Louise (Isabelle Carré), arrives, and begs him to let her become his apprentice. Manceron gradually becomes intrigued by Louise, and teaches her the use of local and seasonal products. They start offering their creations to the travellers, and word of mouth spreads, so that more and more customers come to Manceron's farm to eat. Word has also travelled to the Duke, who, desperately missing Manceron's cooking, lets his visit be announced....  (Ulrike Lemke)

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