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No fast food in Taste of Things

Review 2024 Taste of Things

          While foodies may fall for France’s entry into Oscar’s international film pool, hot dog fans might scratch their heads at The Taste of Things. After all, the movie spends its first half hour nearly silent with no more action than four people preparing a meal. But what a meal! Fresh veggies get cut from a garden. Cows and chickens contribute to the mix. A freshly gutted fish starts a transformation into a stunning dish. Three women and a man move about a classic French country kitchen, sun dappled light targeting lovely décor. As the main meal cooks, foodies drool with jealous anticipation while the group takes a break, sitting down and eating a perfectly prepared omelet.  People like this really existed back in the era gastronomic writer Marcel Rouff covers in his 1924 novel that inspired The Taste of Things.  Modern day director

 Hùng—and apparent foodie based on his other films like The Scent of Green Papaya—revels in the visuals of each course from inception to serving, creating what often resembles a lush Dutch masters painting that feels ready to move with life. But, the film’s movements happen in measured steps. Similarly, plotting edges in slowly, focusing on a few characters rather than splashy action. Using a cast headed by Juliette Binoche gives the director even more opportunity to drench his film in beauty and elegance. But just as haute cuisine does not fit everyone’s taste, the movie pretty much ignores the fast food crowd. The Taste of Things involves lingering and savoring rather than wolfing franchise fries.

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