Our fave time of year - when the French Film Festival is on!
Guest: Karen Grooby
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I have travelled to France numerous times with ma belle amie Karen Grooby. At home in Australia we try to keep our FrancoFile hearts satisfied with activities like French yoga, French themed festivals and restaurants, as well as cooking French food for our friends. Annually we also attend the Melbourne Alliance Français French Film Festival!
We have been to opening night a few times before at the Astor, which always has a wonderful party atmosphere and a chance to see one of the best French Films showing during the festival. I love to eaves drop on all the conversations at the after party as there are so many native French speakers there. I can get my fix and pretend I’m at a party in Paris for the evening! The Astor is such a beautiful grand old theatre it makes it even easier to daydream about France when we’re there!
This year although we didn’t attend the opening Karen went to see three French movies that she recommends.
Karen: Oh this film was such a treat! It is based on a true story of Gustave Eiffel and what he did to build the Eiffel Tower. He was such a genius having just finished a bridge in Bordeaux so he understood the effects of a large structure in very wet ground.
It’s a fascinating story of a man who cared so much for the architecture and the people building it. He was determined that no one die building it. Keeping in mind that this was built in 1887 and 1888 when men tied themselves to the structure with ropes, it is something to behold. Gustave is played by actor Romain Duris. A wonderful French actor and I remember seeing him in Populaire. Populaire was probably released about 10 years ago.
Karen: This film is so aptly named as it was a feast for the eyes. It is set back in 1789 France before the French Revolution and tells the story of when dukes or aristocrats could state what was to be eaten at their dinner table. This particular cook was an employee of a duke but wanted to create and perfect his own masterpieces, and when he did so, was sacked. The recipe causing the cease of his employment was one with potato and truffle as in that era those foods were considered only fit for pigs! Of course these days we know that potato and truffle are a match made in heaven and we’d be horrified to see such a delicacy go to the cochons and would revel in being served truffle et pomme de terre at dinner! This change to his employment status led to him opening the first restaurant in France where anyone could come and eat. The film is photographed beautifully as many shots seem like works of art.
Karen: The scenery in the Cévennes in France is breathtaking. It is in the south of France, almost in the centre of the south, west of Avignon and Provence, and East of the Dordogne, kind of half way between Lyon in central france and Marseille on the south coast, and is in the mountains.
This film is the story of a woman who has an affair with a married man and ends up walking for 6 days in the Cévennes with a donkey. It is funny and very touching. It must have been very difficult to film a donkey doing what he needed for the shoot! It is such a simple story but so entertaining.
Comment te Dire Adieu – Francoise Hardy
I searched for a recipe to share and there were all sorts that came up from roasted potatoes with truffle and garlic, to home made potato crisps with truffle, and of course the one that has become a favourite in many French restaurants, potato & truffle mash. But one I read really got my tastebuds flowing, and that was a roasted garlic & truffle mash potato which is made with a chicken broth and heavy cream added to the mash.
One of Karen’s fave French foods are gougeres, French cheese puffs made from choux pastry.