The film The Pot-au-Feu (The Taste of Things) by French-Vietnamese director Trần Anh Hùng, recipient of the Best Director Award at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, will signal the 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival’s kick-off on Thursday, November 2nd, while the film Fallen Leaves by the beloved Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki, will be the Festival’s closing film, screened on Sunday, November 12th. Both films are among the official entries (for France and Finland, respectively) for the Academy Award for Best International Film.
The Pot-au-Feu, starring contemporary French cinema’s prolific icon Juliette Binoche, intertwines the genres of romantic drama and period film, in a gastronomical story of love that sings the praises of the sublime art of cooking, while seeking the secret ingredients of love and human contact. Based on the legendary novel La vie et la passion de Dodin-Bouffant, gourmet by Marcel Rouff, the Festival’s opening film unravels the complex relationship between a culinary connoisseur and his cook, taking place at the end of the 19th century, and invites us to taste life at the fullest, while exploring the transcendental bond between that ties erotic desire with the savoring of food. In addition, it raises everlasting questions on the nature of human relations, endowed with a subtle feminist take. The movie marks the grand return of a gifted filmmaker, who had enchanted both the critics and the audience in the 90s, winning both the Cannes’ Camera d’Or (The Scent of Green Papaya, 1993) and the Golden Lion in Venice (Cyclo, 1995).
The Pot-au-Feu will hit the Greek movie theaters on November 9th, released by Rosebud. 21
Fallen Leaves, recipient of the Jury Prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and Finland’s official submission for this year’s Academy Award for Best International Film, is a heart-wrenching story of love, hope, mutual respect and solidarity, a true offspring of the unique universe of cinema’s grand humanist and Greek audience’s favorite, Aki Kaurismäki. In the course of one night, in Helsinki, two lonely souls cross paths and discover the magic of togetherness, while seeking their first, absolute and one-and-only love of their life. Deeply romantic yet rooted to the harsh reality (the most unexpected melodies are often followed by the radio news on Russia’s invasion to Ukraine), Fallen Leaves is like a soft blanket wrapped around your shoulders amidst the autumn chill, reminding you of the values of humanity and empathy and the greatness of simplicity. Aki Kaurismäki’s cinema, drenched with nocturnal urban landscapes and offbeat melodies, the trademark Scandinavian deadpan humor, delightful self-sarcasm, quirky heroes that awkwardly search for human touch and comfort, serves as the ideal finale for November’s cinema celebration in Thessaloniki.
Fallen Leaves will hit the Greek movie theaters on December 7th, released by Cinobo.