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In French the word
comédien translates as actor, while comédie is, simply, comedy in English. With this linguistic link between the players and the comedy genre it's hardly surprising that the French are really good at cinema comedy. After all, it goes right back to the Lumière Brothers, the fathers of modern cinema.
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Les saveurs de Palais
Les saveurs du Palais
The summary of this film on Amazon Prime suggested a biographical story without revealing how amusing this film actually is. It is a serious story but the impact of a previously unknown women being drafted into the Élysée Palace to cook for President Mitterrand ruffled more than a few feathers among the all-male staff in the main kitchen.

We start, however, in Antartica, where Hortense Laborie, the said cook, has left the Palace and is now working as the cook in a French research base. She has been spotted by an Australian reporter, who has been told about her past, much to her chagrin.

This triggers the real story, as Hortense is almost dragooned from her farm to Paris. When she asks where she's going she's told Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, no. 55. It's then explained that this is the address of the Élysée Palace. But she still doesn't know for whom she is to cook.

All is soon revealed as she is given a quick tour of the kitchens under the scornful eye of the chef de cuisine. She is to be the President's personal chef (she prefers cook), preparing homely food rather than exotic cuisine. That said, don't watch this film if you are hungry as the food she prepares is absolutely mouthwatering.

A chance encounter with the President, when her usual entrance door was locked, leads them to express their shared love of traditional food. Meanwhile the main kitchen is becoming more and more incensed while other members of the Palace staff are clearly a bit put out by this woman's closeness to the President.

She has been given one assistant, her sous-chef, Nicolas, a most delightful young man who is quick to adapt to her ways. But when the dieticians decide that the President's diet must be regulated, Hortense finds her options limited. An evening snack with the President in her kitchen reveals that he understands how she is being got at, as is he!

This film skips along holding your interest and should produce quite a few laughs as you watch Hortense facing up to the extremely unlikable chef de cuisine. It is based on the true story of Danièle Mazet-Delpeuch, the first woman to cook for a French President.
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