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La Passion de Dodin Bouffant
This mouthwatering and sensual exercise in haute cuisine and late-flowering romance is set in 1885 and almost totally within the confines of a rustic kitchen in a chateau. This is our closing film of this year’s French Film Festival.
Tran Anh Hùng, the Vietnamese director, now living in France, of ‘The Scent of the Green Papaya’ based the film on the book ‘The Life and Passion of Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet’ by Marcel Rouff. Peerless cook Eugénie (Juliette Binoche) has worked for the famous gourmet Dodin (Benoît Magimel) for the last 20 years. As time went by, the practice of gastronomy and mutual admiration turned into a romantic relationship. He realises, however, that while he schmoozes the rich and famous in the dining room, she remains in the kitchen but is clearly hugely responsible for his august reputation. There is talk of marriage, but Eugénie values her independence too much in a relationship that she considers should be of equal parts. Both Binoche and Magimel who were together in life for a considerable time, exude an effortless rapport. Chosen as France’s Oscar contender. Warning: Another film like the recent ‘Delicieux’ that should not be seen on an empty stomach! (Subtitles)
France/Belgium 2023 Tran Anh Hùng 134m
A novelist who is fed up with the establishment profiting from "Black" entertainment uses a pen name to write a book that propels him to the heart of hypocrisy and the madness he claims to disdain.
At once broadly comedic and bitingly barbed, ‘American Fiction’ is the story of Thelonious “Monk” Ellison (an outstanding Jeffrey Wright), a writer and malcontent who unwillingly finds himself back in his East Coast hometown. There he is confronted with the family turmoil he tries to avoid, heightened by growing irritation with the expectations he feels from the literary establishment about what “Black literature” ought to be. This is an extremely funny movie that lands some sharp blows, and a stellar feature debut from seasoned TV writer Cord Jefferson, where he confronts our culture's obsession with reducing people to outrageous stereotypes.
USA 2023 Cord Jefferson 117m
When people in Littlehampton - including conservative local Edith - begin to receive letters full of hilarious profanities, rowdy Irish migrant Rose is charged with the crime. Suspecting that something is amiss, the town's women investigate.
Fiery Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley) has little in common with the pious Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) aside from them being neighbours in the seaside town of Littlehampton in the 1920's. But one day, Edith starts receiving scandalous letters written with foul language as eccentric as it is obscene, and she immediately accuses Rose of being the poison pen writer behind them. As Rose stands to lose her freedom and the custody of her daughter, and outrageous letters continue to blight the town, police officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) begins to suspect something is amiss. Together with a group of resourceful women, Gladys endeavours to solve the mystery, liberate Rose, and catch the real culprit. Inspired by a real historical event from the 1920s, the charming seaside town of Littlehampton was a place where everyone knows everyone, and everyone is always on their best Christian behaviour. Filming for this thoroughly enjoyable and very funny film took place principally in Arundel throughout the Autumn of 2022. No doubt we will delight in recognizing our local surrounds on the big screen.
UK 2023 Thea Sharrock 102m