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.
Restaurant kitchens are all pretty much the same, whether they're in the business of filling vol-au-vents or flipping burgers. Every kitchen has a cook who's hooked on dope, a server who's always the first to ask to be sent home, and at least one ongoing love triangle.
A chef's infatuation with his restaurant's already-spoken-for sommelier is chronicled in Bon Appétit, the culinary romantic comedy that tonight kicks off the Kirkland portion of SIFF's program. The Spanish film--tagged with the slogan "recipes for friends who kiss"--picked up a passel of awards at the Malaga Spanish Film Festival.
"Romantic films always have something stupid in them, like in Meg Ryan's films," the film's star, Unax Ugalde, told an Australian arts blog. "People think romantic comedies are bullshit and banal, but this film is about things that can happen to anyone."
In director David Pinillos' debut feature, Ugalde plays Daniel, a Spanish chef working at a high-class Zurich restaurant (while SIFF classifies Bon Appétit as a Spanish production, the film was co-produced by German backers, cast with Italian actors, shot in Switzerland, and scripted in English and French.) Daniel falls for Hanna, the sommelier, who's already in a relationship with the restaurant's owner.
"While the story never really sets the pulses racing, it is consistently well-scripted and elegantly performed," according to a Screen Daily review. "Pinillos makes great use of the Geneva locations."
Bon Appétit, Kirkland Performance Center, 8 p.m.
Additional screenings on June 9 (Admiral Theater, 8:30 p.m.) and June 11 (Neptune Theater, 9:30 p.m.)