Sunday, July 14, 2019

Tonight's Movie: The Goddesses of Food (2016) - A Kino Lorber DVD Review

THE GODDESSES OF FOOD (2016) is a documentary being released on DVD this coming week by Kino Lorber.

This 94-minute film, also known by the French title À LA RECHERCHE DES FEMMES CHEFS, was written and directed by Verane Frediani.

Frediani explores the role of female chefs in the world of international fine cooking, where women are still often outnumbered by men in the kitchen and where female chefs also receive far less publicity. The documentary was inspired by a 2013 Time Magazine cover story, "The Gods of Food," which focused heavily on male chefs. Frediani set out to find the goddesses.

Along with identifying great current and up-and-coming female chefs, the documentary examines the history of female French chefs, which was one of my favorite aspects of the film. It also discusses perceptions about men and women in the cooking world, including how they approach careers and why men seem to be better known.

The film explores various thoughts and ideas along these lines, though it doesn't seem to draw firm conclusions other than that excellent female chefs are out there working and seeking equal opportunity in the profession. Unsurprisingly, given what inspired the film, the point is also made that the media should do a more thorough job approaching their coverage.

A variety of people are interviewed, from famed American chef Alice Waters to multiple European chefs with Michelin stars. Frediani also looks at culinary students, including young female chefs from developing countries.

I felt the documentary was petering out toward the end and would have benefited from tighter editing and a somewhat shorter running time. (As it is, two sequences didn't make the final film and are included in the extras.) Overall, though, I found it worthwhile; I always enjoy "foodie" films and documentaries, and this is an interesting look at the world of haute cuisine.

A note on the release year: The Kino Lorber site lists the release year as 2018, while IMDb gives the year as 2016, when it was screened at a film festival. I have made it a consistent practice at my site to use the earliest date of a public screening, as noted at IMDb.

The Kino Lorber DVD, available July 16th, includes deleted scenes and the trailer. The trailer can also be found on Vimeo.

I give Kino Lorber high marks for releasing consistently interesting documentaries. I'd love it if by chance they released another new "foodie" documentary, DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY (2019), for home viewing. (June 2020 Update: I'm delighted to share that Kino Lorber will be releasing DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY on DVD later this month.)

Previous reviews of documentaries released by Kino Lorber: OBIT: LIFE ON DEADLINE (2016), HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (2015), DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME (2016), BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY (2017), and CHEF FLYNN (2018).

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this DVD.


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