Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
Step Up to the Plate (Entre Les Bras — La cuisine en heritage)
With its focus on a renowned European restaurant and its structure built around the four seasons, Entre les Bras (punnily rendered as Step Up to the Plate for us English-speakers) will naturally call to mind 2011’s superfoodie documentary El Bulli: Cooking in Progress. But the films have inverse emphases: El Bulli’s drama came from the creation of a menu built around the seemingly unpromising central ingredient of water. The tension between head chef and assistant in the kitchen provided the engine, but the menu was the destination. Here, the drama is familial – a father (Michel Bras) readying to hand on his business, built up over the course of a lifetime, to a son (Sebastien Bras) who has been readying himself since childhood but still seems hesitant to assume the throne. The son’s beautifully rendered struggle to create a signature dish built on his own childhood memories is not the point of things, but rather an illustration of it. 2012.
— Matthew Lickona