Vatel (2000)

From the director of The Mission comes this true tragedy about a 17th century French chef, or rather an artist in the court of Louis, the Great Condé. Without knowing the story of François Vatel, I was thoroughly impressed with his character and ultimately shocked with his tale.

The setting is a lavish palace in France where a general/prince, Louis, is hosting the king of France for three days during which he attempts to woo him into giving him money as the prince is in terrible debt. The Great Condé relies on Vatel to prepare the meals and festivities and does Vatel ever impress. I presume that the film does much more than Vatel could have done during that era, but I'm sure it was lavish nonetheless. Various characters and forces complicate and attempt to disrupt the three days as Vatel, played sympathetically by Gérard Dépardieu, tries to hold it together.

The film is a feast for the eyes and the camera work through the kitchen and construction of the feasts keeps us in awe of the magnitude of Vatel's job. Morricone's soundtrack also bathes us in 1671 royalty.

The conflict in Vatel's life is core to the human experience and to modern day globalization and it is pictured so humanely here that it shook me up for days after watching it. What value do we really have for the world's poor?

Official Site | IMDB

No comments: