Delicious French Film “The Taste of Things” Thrills Critics

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Taste of Things film

By Randal C. Hill  

Can food represent both love and nourishment? According to the film “The Taste of Things,” the answer is obviously “yes.” 

The opening scene of Tran Anh Hung’s quiet little movie runs 38 minutes and involves few words. Never bored, we are instead transfixed by people busily preparing broths, pastries and meats that steam and sizzle and make us drool in anticipation. (The scene takes place in a spacious country kitchen in a time before electricity or plug-in appliances.) Eventually, the appreciative guests each taste and savor every bite, finding no need to talk during the meal.

Dodin (French film star Benoit Magimel) is a highly respected gourmet who has overseen today’s meal preparation with the confidence of one who has basically lived in a kitchen for decades. His busy partner is Eugenie (Academy Award® winner Juliette Binoche), who is not only an accomplished cook but also a highly skilled food artist.  

Dodin and Eugenie have lived together for 20 years in Dodin’s manor house and are partners in every sense of the word. He has often proposed marriage but has always been rejected.  

One key scene shows them relaxing in their moonlit garden after a tiring day in the kitchen. “We’ve spent more time together than many spouses,” Eugenie remarks. 

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Dodin responds with, “I ask you once again… marry me.” 

Eugenie, who has been down this road many times before, smiles patiently. “How many times will you ask me?” Undoubtedly, she concerns herself with the changes that would possibly take place if the pair made their always-comfortable relationship “official.” 

The film opened at Cannes Film Festival in May 2023 and will be shown in select theaters February 9, 2024 in French with English subtitles, and available on streaming platforms in the future

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