Thursday, 16 April 2015

Le Chef

Lowdown: Two very different chefs join forces, more or less, to their mutual benefit.
Review:
I consider Australia an excellent place to live in, if not the best. But Australia is not perfect. A fine example for Australia's imperfections is its lack of exposure to non English speaking cinema. Compare that with, say, Israel, a country that's not on any sane person's best place to live in list. As a person who grew up in Israel, I consider myself blessed to have been exposed to one level or another to French cinema. I suspect this is to do with the dominance of the English language: Australians are bothered with watching foreign language films, while for Israelis a movie with subtitles is a movie with subtitles regardless of whether it speaks French or English. Clearly, dominance breeds laziness.
This occurred to me as I was watching 2012’s Le Chef, a French movie following up on the great tradition of French movies involving an unlikely/contradictory pairing of male hero characters. I’m talking about movies such as The Sucker (originally Le corniaud, or as it was translated in Israel – The White Cadillac). Or the more recent The Closet, a movie I consider one of the best comedies I have ever watched (if not the best).
As per its name, Le Chef revolves around chefs. In contrast to its name, it revolves around two chefs. One of them is Alexandre (Jean Reno), a famous chef running a Parisian 3 star Michelin restaurant that seems to have peaked already; the general consensus is of Alexandre now living off past glories. The younger restaurant owner wants him gone, replaced by new blood. At the other corner we have Jacky (Michaƫl Youn), a wannabe chef whose self imposed high standards get him to lose every cooking job he ever got. Alas, Jacky has to compromise, because his girlfriend is pregnant and they need the steady income. But compromising is hard!
Don’t worry, though, because Le Chef is as predictable as. The twain shall meet, the old shall learn from the new, the new shall learn from the old, and both shall learn to cooperate. Sort of, at least, because they will do so in the classic, relaxed but crazy, French comedy manner. Indeed, this film is ever so French: from its dealings with matters of food to its distinct stench of chauvinism, Le Chef is your classic French dish. Which, as it happens, is not the worst way ever to spend a relaxing night at home in the company of Netflix.
Overall: 3 out of 5 tasty French crabs.

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