French cuisine competes on big screen at Cannes in The Pot-au-Feu

French cuisine competes on big screen at Cannes in The Pot-au-Feu
The 76th Cannes Film Festival - Screening of the film "La passion de Dodin Bouffant" (The Pot-au-Feu) in competition - Red Carpet Arrivals - Cannes, France, on May 24, 2023. Lena Mahfouf poses.
PHOTO: Reuters

CANNES - Stomachs were sure to grumble at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of The Pot-au-Feu on Wednesday (May 24), which brings Michelin star chef Pierre Gagnaire's culinary talents to the big screen.

The stars of the film, French film icon Juliette Binoche and Benoit Magimel, two-time winner of France's Cesar award for best actor, were on the red carpet in the French Riviera city along with Gagnaire and French-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung.

The French-language film, set in 1885, follows gourmet Dodin Bouffant (Magimel), a fictional character created by novelist Marcel Rouff, during a budding romance between him and his longtime cook Eugenie (Binoche).

Binoche and Magimel were a real-life couple after they met on the set of another movie they did together, 1999's Children of the Century, and had a daughter before separating in 2003.

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Gagnaire, head chef at a Paris restaurant with his name, appears in the film titled in French La passion de Dodin Bouffant, and consulted on the preparation of the complex dishes shown in the film, none of which is fake.

"When I said 'Cut!' in a meal scene, they kept on eating. The props team had to beg them to give the plates back," Hung recalled about the cast members.

Michel Nave, who had worked for Gagnaire for more than four decades, was responsible for cooking on location, a "colossal, endless task", said Hung. "Just to film the pot-au-feu, Michel Nave had to manipulate forty kilos of meat," he said.

Pot-au-feu is a French dish of slowly boiled meat and vegetables.

The film marks the first time Hung, known for Norwegian Wood, has been in the running for the festival's top prize.

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