Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Matter of Taste (Une affaire de goût)

Rousset: “His palate was so refined, everything had to be cooked in perfect harmony. Cuisine is an art in itself.”A Matter of Taste (Une affaire de goût) is an ambiguous movie: is it about auto-destructive behavior, manipulation, closeted homosexual passion, the moral corruption of wealth, or all of the above simultaneously? Whichever the reader finds it to be, the movie centers on food—specifically, the dishes that Rivière (Lorit) is hired to taste for Delamont (Giraudeau): pigeon casserole made with garlic, onion, lemon, and verbena tea; hors d’oeuvres with rabbit and black olive paste; five-flavor pork; fava bean and Parma salad; tripes à la grande-mère. There are also the foods that Rivière eats as part of his training (lobster, crab, shrimp, oysters, poached turbot with hollandaise sauce, apple tart) or recommends to his employer’s business associates (scampi with grapefruit and seafood). Unexpectedly, the personal taster is promoted to a much higher position—becoming a surrogate? a twin?—as Delamont compels Rivière to “taste” much more than what’s served at the dinner table, with fascinating and dire consequences for both men.

Released 2000
Directed by Bernard Rapp
Written by Bernard Rapp and Gilles Taurand; book Affaires de gout by Philippe Balland
Starring Bernard Giraudeau as Frédéric Delamont, Jean-Pierre Lorit as Nicolas Rivière, Florence Thomassin as Béatrice, Charles Berling as René Rousset, Jean-Pierre Léaud as Le juge d’instruction, Artus de Penguerm as Flavert, Laurent Spielvogel as Doctor Rossignon, and Elisabeth Macocco as Caroline
Awards: 2000 Cognac Festival du Film Policier “Unravel” Award, Critics Award, and Grand Prix; 2000 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Special Mention

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