This is my review of Le Goût Des Autres [DVD].
In this film which deserves both its awards and to be better known in Britain, the talented Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri co-wrote and acted two of the main parts. Bacri plays Jean-Jacques Castella, the wealthy factory-owner who comfort eats to replace an undefined hole in his life. A dabbler in interior design, his wife swathes their home in frills and competing flowery patterns, and obliges him to share her affections with a lap dog. On a reluctant visit to the theatre, he is smitten by the performance of an actress who happens to be earning extra cash as his English teacher to prepare him for an important business deal, and who could not be more different from his wife. In what looks like a doomed attempt to form a relationship, he latches on to her group of bohemian arty friends who have as much contempt for his taste as he is bemused by theirs.
The often funny yet moving main theme is underpinned by the triangular relationship between his naïve chauffeur who struggles to play the flute despite a lack of aptitude, his hard-bitten temporary bodyguard and the hash-dealing barmaid and borderline tart with a heart, played by Jaoui.
It’s a pity there are not more films like this near flawless work, with an ending that subtly avoids overstatement, pointing the audience in a certain direction, with a “feel good” factor which steers clear of any mawkish sentimentality.