Menú degustació: Zentropa goes for gastronomic comedy
- A refined elite restaurant is the backdrop for Roger Gual’s third film, produced by Zentropa Spain: an ensemble film which closed the out-of-competition section Malaga Premiere
Cuisine is a fashionable theme: books, blogs, television transmissions and films have all been evoking it at an ever-increasing pace. One such film is Menú degustació [+see also:
film profile] by Roger Gual, written together with Javier Calvo, based on an idea by Silvia González. This is the third film by the Catalan filmmaker after Smoking Room, co-directed with Julio Wallovits in 2001, and Remake in 2005. Similarly to the two previous ones, Gual’s new film was presented in Malaga in the out-of-competition section Malaga Premiere.
A vast cast of characters makes up Menú degustació: a couple which has been separated for a year, an aristocratic widow (Fionnula Flanagan) who goes around with her husband’s ashes, a mysterious man (Stephen Rea) who looks like he might be a food critic, two Japanese business rivals, a chatterbox translator… They all meet in a Costa Brava restaurant where reservations are required months in advance and who, that night, serves its last, exquisite dinner for thirty or so privileged guests.
The unique location sets the scene for these crisis-ridden characters’ contradictions to be revealed. Scenic restrictions bring Gual to abuse of a rotating camera angle, which constantly moves around his actors. Their quarrels are not always clear though in this ambitious and sophisticated comedy, which would have benefitted from a deeper definition of its characters.
David Matamoros, director of Zentropa Spain and last year’s Producer on the Move (read the interview) put much effort into this coproduction with Ireland, with hopes of satisfying many different palates. Mission accomplished: Menú degustació (shot in Catalan and English) has already secured distribution across a number of countries in Asia and America, including the difficult market of the United States.
(Translated from Spanish)
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