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 again this year highlight the program's films of particular interest to those viewers who spend more time in dining rooms than screening rooms.
If The Producers was rewritten for the Food Network, the result might look something like Daniel Cohen's The Chef.
The Chef, which anchors SIFF's Centerpiece Gala on Saturday, is a culinary comedy about Alexandre Lagarde, an aging French chef who's as committed to hanging onto his restaurant's Michelin stars as the restaurant's owner is to cutting costs by sacking Lagarde. Enter Jacky Bonnot, a wacky young chef who keeps getting fired for using liquid nitrogen in kitchens where every dish features meat and fried potatoes. The owner is gleefully sure Bonnot's molecular gastronomy techniques will fail, dooming Lagarde's career.
(It's worth noting that the movie's original French title was Like a Chef: The French aren't as quick as their American counterparts to bestow the chef title on anyone with sous vide skills.)
Equally desperate to succeed, Lagarde and Bonnot romp through the film, donning traditional Japanese costumes so they can dine at a newfangled restaurant with iPad menus and importing a Spanish visionary who transforms the kitchen into a foam-generating laboratory.
"Short running time notwithstanding, the pic comes off as repetitive, mostly because Jacky is such an irritating, one-note character," a Variety critic wrote.
"The film will delight on television," predicted a Le Parisien critic.
For a sense of how the film will play on a small screen, check out the trailer here.