The Taste of Things, directed by Tran Anh Hung, is a 19th-century French romance fueled by an understanding of food’s transcendence. The movie is about a distinguished gourmand, Dodin (Benoît Magimel), and his gifted chef, Eugénie (Juliette Binoche). They live together in the French countryside and concoct lavish meals for themselves and Dodin’s foodie friends. Their lives revolve entirely around the creation of these dishes, emphasized through long, elaborate cooking scenes. The Taste of Things was selected as the French submission for the Oscar’s best international film category (over Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or winner, Anatomy of a Fall). The movie is an adaptation of the 1961 novel The Passionate Epicure by Marcel Rouff, which was in turn inspired by Brillat-Savarin’s The Physiology of Taste, a book about the science of eating that often veers off into discussions about sex, love and sensuality.
This film is presented in a short film series on France’s gourmand tradition. Join us on February 29 for Menus-plaisirs: les Troisgros (2023) by Frederick Wiseman (RSVP here) and on March 7 for The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) by Luis Buñuel (RSVP here).