The Taste of Things is a recent film by the French-Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran, for which he won the Best Director prize at Cannes in 2023. Set in late 19th century rural France, it focuses on a well off gourmet, Dodin Bouffant, and his relationship with his cook Eugénie. The pair are played with sensitivity by Benoît Magimel and Juliette Binoche - they clearly have a deep and romantic relationship, although despite his frequent requests she refuses to marry him.

Where the film excels is, of course, in its wonderful depictions of cooking and eating. There are numerous long and lovingly choreographed shots of food preparation and consumption (often with minimal dialogue), and food is clearly central to the life of the chateau and Dodin and Eugénie’s love affair. The Taste of Things is by no means full of action - events unfold slowly and gently. But it is certainly a feast for the eyes in every sense.

In the Observer, Wendy Ide gave it a four star review: “Sumptuous, sensual and impossibly handsome, at first glance French-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung’s lavish foodie romance The Taste of Things looks like just another decorous prestige period drama. But in its elegantly restrained way, Tran’s film, which is set almost entirely in the kitchen, grounds and dining room of the country chateau of famed gourmet Dodin (Benoît Magimel) in 1880s France, is every bit as radical and risk-taking as some of the showier, quirkier awards contenders this year.”

NB: The Taste of Things is in French with subtitles.

Film length: 2 hours 15 minutes (plus interval)