Thursday, 24 March 2011

L'aile ou la cuisse - The wing and the thigh

1976 by Calude Zidi

Duchemin runs a universally acclaimed guide book on French cuisine. The ratings he gives for the restaurants are so crucial that it can even make or break a business. He has a son, who is more interested by playing a clown in a circus troupe, run by his friends. Duchemin runs exclusive inspections before he rates any restaurant and he considers himself a saviour of the grandeur of French classic food. Restaurateurs are quite scared about this unexpected inspections by his team. Duchemin is informed about a plan by Tri-Cartel, a fast food chain, to buy all restaurants in a French town. Jacques Tri Cartel in fact would like to buy only those restaurants which are highly rated by Duchemin's guide book that, he even tries to steal the proof of the unpublished guide book. Duchemin then plans to challenge Tri Cartel through a very popular television show and succeeds, not easy though.

This is a classic French satire+slap stick of the 70's. Just that it is an excellent comedy even now in 2011. Satire in a way how the French has always looked down at the American Fast food system, which with its junk food is going places all around the world, offering unhealthy and tasteless food for cheap prices that too as 'take away'. French are always proud about their Food and they ought to be. Fast food chains have invaded France as well and the young and the poor line up for them. I am sure this movie had an intention in this line, especially since it was released in the 70's. Even now this is a valid point and traditional food is always healthy and tasty than the fast food junky. A classic satire for sure, for both children and adults.

Many restaurant inspections of Duchemin brings out the slap stick humour, which are brilliant. Most of these scenes, (to point out one - the check-in scene of Duchamin, his son and the secretary), offer excellent laugh.

Louis de Funes who plays Duchemin definitely steals the show. What a performance. Simply brilliant. I am going to look for more movies from this brilliant actor. Even when he tries out slap stick, he is elegant. Coluche as his son is also very good. But his character is supposed to be only next to De Funes and so it is.

Watch this movie if you would like to see a simple and hilarious comedy.  The message behind is still relevant in the modern world of fast foods.