Step Up to the Plate

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this four-hour home-movie marathon only lasted 90 minutes. (I first posted this review on May 16, 2012.)

This is about a Master Chef who is trying to prepare himself mentally to turn over his successful empire to his equally successful son. They have very different styles: the dad is a nit picker (which is why he became a Master Chef in the first place) and the son always looks concerned. Not worried, but concerned. Maybe I was the only one bored at this 2012 Seattle International Film Festival entry from France, but I found myself clutching at straws.

Here are a few straws:
  • I love some of the photography; particularly exteriors, interiors and landscapes when they are monochromatic and serene! There is one shot of an empty commercial kitchen, all shiny and still, that is exceptional.
  • The colors in some of the foods are terrific: brilliant green sauces, gray-green mold on the cheeses, almost black blackberry jelly. They use pansies, squash, avocado, and far too many more eso- teric edibles to name. I like it when they use interesting colors.
  • The mother makes a very insightful comment: It's easier to climb to the top, than to stay there.
  • It's interesting to see how much stoop labor is involved in being a master chef. They don't put those crates of vegetables up where you can reach them, you have to bend over!
  • A couple of things made me smile: The chef licks his fingers, reaches down and moves an article of food, then realizes he is on camera; when Grandpa is buzzing his grandchildren around in a little runabout, the seat belts are tucked to the side, ignored and unused.
  • The direction of a swipe of a spoon on a plate requires a near summit conference to reach accord. Each condiment is spooned, dribbled, swiped, piled or dotted onto the plate. Once the decision is finalized, each serving must conform to the chef's diagram!
All in all, this felt like a bunch of esoteric claptrap to me...other than the photography. (Not the family hikes, the walk through the old family barn, the early morning jogs of father and son, the taste test of that Japanese creation, etc., etc., etc. ...yawn...) At least it was in French, and English subtitles were very welcome! I'm not sure I wanted to taste some of those creations...