That first 'F' in SIFF stands for film, not food, but there's plenty of onscreen eating at the festival to entertain the culinary-minded moviegoer. As a supplement to Seattle Weekly's coverage of the Seattle International Film Festival, Voracious will highlight the program's films of particular interest to those viewers who spend more time in dining rooms than screening rooms.
Our own Brian Miller is infatuated with The Trip, showing tonight at the Admiral Theater. "Funniest film I've seen this spring," Miller writes of this Brit buddy-trip flick from Michael Winterbottom.
The film's setup is simple (appropriately so, since it got its start as a six-episode BBC series that Winterbottom cobbled together for IFC Films): Steve Coogan, playing a version of himself, accepts a newspaper assignment to review restaurants in the north English countryside. His girlfriend's gone back to the States, so he recruits a semi-fictionalized Rob Brydon to serve as his dining companion. The pair kvetches, competes, and celebrity-imitates its way through six meals.
As our sister paper, L.A. Weekly, reported when the show premiered, "Most of the dialogue is improvised, but the gastronomic aspects are not: Coogan and Brydon are actually dining at some of the better known restaurants in England's Lake District, Lancashire and the Yorkshire Dales--including L'Enclume and Hipping Hall--and viewers get to check out every dish."
Many of those dishes are presumably more refined than the film itself, which a few detractors have characterized as rough and ragged. But for those who can stomach repetition and a peek at comedy in progress may succumb to The Trip's charms, as critic Fernando Croce did. While Croce wasn't taken with the endless Michael Caine impersonations, he called the film "wispy, but funny, and strangely affecting."