Sunday, 10 August 2014

Dandelion Dreams in the Midi Pyrenees

That's what this movie was for me - dandelion dreams in the French countryside. This is not a film review. Its more my musing about an affair with France - the first country I travelled to 10 years ago when I started my travel diaries. 
Magazines and guide books quote a visit to Paris as perhaps the most recommended of all destinations to visit in Europe. But to do that is to taste just the cherry and leave the cake. The magic of the french country side, Bordeaux in the case of my first visit was spell binding. This film takes me back there, this time to the south of France. The film is shot exclusively in the Midi Pyrenees Region in Southwest France and the way it transports you to this gorgeous French countryside, you quickly want to drop everything you are doing and open a little bnb in the locale as the scenes change from one meadow to the forest to the little farmers market to a picnic spot near the river, ahh! Heaven. Like just stepping into a spring painting.  

The Hundred Foot Journey tracks the journey of the Kadam family who settle down in a small village of the Midi Pyrenees in France and open a traditional Indian restaurant just opposite a Michelin starred French restaurant.  

The film in a way has rescued France from the the glitz of its glorified capital and shows you a culinary romance with its charming countryside.
The cinematography oozes flavour, beautifully constructed scenes with a play of light and shadow: the way the reflection of fire burns in her (Charlotte Le Bon) face as she glares at him (Manesh Dayal)... another scene where a storm and rain are metaphors to depict the pain loved ones feel when the protagonist leaves home to conquer the culinary world; simple, simmering raw emotions.

The acting - Om Puri and Helen Merren filling seemingly trivial dialogues with their candid expressions and effortless humour; make for an adorable romance that makes me giggle in every scene.   

"Forgive the silence," says Om Puri in a scene, "seeing all this, I think my family thinks we died in the accident and now we are in heaven." a dialogue from the film that elucidates my point exactly. Cross over film some are calling it but I wouldn't call it that. No garish Bollywood songs, no silly tactics, just gorgeously created scenes of classy french cuisine, that is truly the hero in the film.

"Brakes brake for a reason."

In all my travels, be it in the little villages nestled in the Himalayas or the bustling markets in Barcelona or Munich's Viktualienmarkt, I have always shared with you my awe for local farmers markets. Admiring the fresh produce of the day, the fragrance of fresh citrus fruit of the season, the colourful flowers, the crisp greens and all that hustle and bustle; scenes of the Midi Pyrenees farmers market were precisely that - fresh, intoxicating, fascinating. 
And I can go on! But You must experience the magic for yourself, watch The Hundred Foot Journey it for the wanderlust and maybe the next time, make Paris but a stop over to explore the magic of the French countryside.

Note: The French Tourism Board invited me for the preview screening of The Hundred Foot Journey. I love the cinemas so I happily attended the screening and truly enjoyed it, a feel good film it is. Go see it and do tell me what you think. Cheers!       

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