Written and directed by Tran Anh Hung, the film is officially France’s Oscars submission for the Best International Film category. “The Taste of Things,” formerly known as “The Pot-au-Feu,” premiered at 2023 Cannes.
Binoche and her ex-partner Benoît Magimel star as two chefs fall in love across 20 years in the 19th century; Hung adapted the romance drama from Marcel Rouffe’s 1924 novel “The Passionate Epicure.” The film marks Hung’s second Oscar entry, following 1993’s “The Scent of Green Papaya,” where Hung made history as the first Vietnamese nominee.
Set in France in the late 19th century, the film follows the life of Dodin Bouffant (Magimel) as the preeminent chef living with his personal cook and lover Eugénie (Binoche). Eugénie and Dodin share a long history of gastronomy and love. While emotions remain contained, the culinary discoveries are, on the other hand, breathtakingly exquisite. The only hitch is that Eugénie refuses to marry Dodin. So, the food lover decides to do something he has never done before: cook for her.
The film is distributed in the U.S. by IFC Films and Sapan Studio.
“The Taste of Things” beat out France’s “Anatomy of a Fall,” which was expected to be the official Academy Awards entry from the country. The 2023 Cannes Palme d’Or winner, directed by Justine Triet, stars Sandra Hüller in the psychological thriller whodunit.
“The Taste of Things” marked a surprise screening at Telluride and was among the New York Film Festival lineup. The IndieWire review credited writer-director Hung for creating a “humorous rhythm so that long sequences of intense food preparation are punctuated with explicit sexual behavior.”
The sensuality of flavor breaks the fourth wall, following in the footsteps of “Babette’s Feast,” “Julie & Julia,” and “Like Water for Chocolate,” to add a further dimension to the budding romance onscreen.
“The Taste of Things” premieres in theaters February 9 with a limited release, expanding February 14. An Oscars qualifying run will take place in December 2023. Check out the trailer below.