Or, Heavy Hangs the Head That Used to Wear the Crown. For 40 years, starting in 1970, chef Georges Perrier held court in his private, prosperous kingdom: Le Bec Fin, a classic French restaurant in Philadelphia. The kind of place where the sauce is everything, and butter and cream are considered foundational elements. But time passes and tastes change, whatever your sacrifices, whatever your achievements, whatever your former fame and acclaim. It can be a rough tumble, especially if you’ve started to believe your own hype, that “nobody is like me, because I care,” that “I’m teaching something nobody can teach: love.” Writer-director-producer Erika Frankel’s account of a culinary luminary’s dimming is a wonder of how-your-gourmet-sausage-is-made access: camped out in the restaurant’s kitchen, she captures her subject’s tyrannical tantrums, petulant pride, and tender humanity, sometimes within a single scene. Perrier’s rage for control is both hilarious and frightening: does shouting “Boil it! Boil it! Boil it!” do anything but make someone miserable? Happily, the goal here is not simple roasting, but also thoughtful presentation, and by patiently letting events play out past the easy and expected end-note, Frankel has fashioned a fine story out of what might have been merely a cautionary tale. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
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