Goliath, directed by Frédéric Tellier, made its world premiere in Sydney at the Alliance Française French Film Festival, even before it was released in French cinemas a week or so later, on 9 March 2022.
Inspired by, but not strictly based on, a true story, Goliath is a film about residents of a rural town fighting a mega agricultural manufacturer of a pesticide they believe is responsible for cancers and deaths among their own. Enter Patrick (Giles Lellouche, also showing in Farewell, Mr. Haffmann at AFFFF 2022), a lawyer fighting to prove not only the link but that the company knows their product is carcinogenic. It’s an uphill battle as lobbyists, such as Matthias (Pierre Niney, also in OSS 117: From Africa with Love in this year’s AFFFF and Black Box from AFFFF 2021), engage in dirty tactics, cleverly worded speeches and campaigns of misinformation. Director Frédéric Tellier has worked with Pierre Niney before on previous AFFFF film Through the Fire (Sauver ou Périr).
A desperate and drastic act by one of the group drives France (Emmanuelle Bercot, Happy Birthday, AFFFF20), a sports teacher by day and factory worker by night, to take action. She’s personally affected as she sees her partner Zef’s lymphoma return and points to pesticide Tetrazine as the cause.
Bubbling along in the background is agricultural company PhytoSanis’ concern that its licence to sell its product won’t be renewed in the coming months. Lobbyists engage heavily in misinformation campaigns – this product is far less dangerous than the lollies you give your child and yet they’re not banned – and schmoozing important officials in their attempt to get the vote across the line.
Goliath is not a courtroom David and Goliath drama but a personal one. The battle takes place in the village where France lives and also for Patrick, trying to find someone willing to speak or information to prove that the product is carcinogenic finds himself increasingly under threat by a company that is determined to keep its product on the market.
Images of France’s family dealing with the fallout of the pesticide are juxtaposed with images of lobbyist Patrick’s happy family. His heavily pregnant partner stands holding her belly as he talks to her about the difficulties and increasing pressure he is experiencing at work in the lead-up to the European Commission vote to renew or disapprove a new licence to the agricultural company.
Both male leads in Goliath were nominated for best actor at the César Awards and deservingly so. Pierre Niney played lobbyist Matthias so well that I despised him from very early on. Giles Lellouche for his role as Patrick, the criminal lawyer turned environmental lawyer. Unfortunately, neither Niney nor Lellouche won the César for Best Actor. Ultimately, it went to Benoît Magimel for Peaceful (another film showing at the AFFFF 2022).
While not nominated for a César for Goliath, Emmanuelle Bercot also deserves mention as the desperate France, willing to do anything to see the company made responsible.
Goliath is a well-written and superbly acted film which sheds light on the unethical, dirty tactics of lobbyists while at the same time highlighting the strength and determination of others.
Matilda Marseillaise was given access to a digital screener of this film for this review.
Tasting Australia 2022 starts in one month: 29 April. On the program are events highlighting both grower and well-known champagnes; and several French wine varietals: Bordeaux, Chardonnay, Riesling, Syrah and rarer ones like White Burgundy. Read on to find out about champagne and wine events at Tasting Australia 2022.
CHAMPAGNE EVENTS AT TASTING AUSTRALIA 2022
Tasting Australia 2022 will see masterclasses about, and tastings of, grower champagne as well as some of the larger houses including Gosset, Pol Roger, Roederer and Taittinger.
Melbourne-based author, importer and winemaker Robert Walters leads you in an exploration of the revolutionary world of grower champagne in a masterclass set to feature the next generation of producers. Bibendum Wine Co. represents an extensive range of champagnes sourced from producers you’ll be delighted to discover.
Grower champagnes are the ultimate terroir champagnes and have become the darlings of international sommeliers and collectors. Walters will share insights gleaned from more than 15 years in the trade.
Walters has clear views on the world of Champagne. Expect deep insights, strong opinions and Champagne from producers including Ulysse Collin, Agrapart, Larmandier-Bernier, Laherte Frères, Egly-Ouriet and Jérôme Prévost.
Vintage and Vine importer David Burkitt introduced you to the ancient French house, Champagne Gosset, in this hour-long tasting.
The Gosset story dates all the way back to 1584, when Pierre Gosset – an alderman and wine-grower in the French village of Aÿ – made still wines from his own grapes. It wasn’t until the 18th century that wines in and around Aÿ started to bubble. So began a tradition that continues unbroken; one that sees Gosset cuvées presented in bottles identical to those used hundreds of years ago. The maison carefully avoids malolactic fermentation so its wines retain all their natural fruitiness.
Slip away to the elegant surrounds of Proof for a late afternoon seated flight of Pol Roger. This Tasting table event will be led by Deviation Road winemaker Kate Laurie, a friend of the brand who honed her craft in France. Laurie is among Australia’s top sparkling winemakers, sourcing grapes from high-altitude Adelaide Hills vineyards and using traditional equipment and methods.
Pol Roger founded his eponymous champagne house in 1849. It quickly became a favourite of Sir Winston Churchill, who noted, “Champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced, the imagination is equally stirred, the wits become more nimble.”
Tasting Australia drinks curator Nick Stock guides you on a morning tasting of one of his favourite champagnes, Louis Roederer at The Exeter. It’s long been one of the standard-bearers for modern organic and biodynamic viticulture in a region synonymous with fine champagne.
This champagne house was founded as Dubois Père & Fils in 1776 and renamed eponymously by Roedrerer after inheriting it from his uncle in 1833. It is one of the few family-owned independent companies run by real wine specialists and produces about three and a half million bottles each year.
Louis Roederer maintains 240 hectares of vineyards across the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs. Seventy-five hectares are cultivated according to biodynamic principles, making it the largest biodynamic estate in the Champagne region.
Enjoy another morning champagne tasting on the balcony of The Exeter, this time Champagne Taittinger. Discover the house philosophy and standouts from its range, defined by its high percentage of chardonnay and finesse on the nose and palate.
A story of determination shaped what Champagne Taittinger is today. When the house was purchased by the Starwood Group in 2005 Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger – a determined connoisseur, hedonist and humanist – successfully bought back his family’s business a year later. “We cultivate vines, not egos at Taittinger,” he says. Today the business is staffed by a young, passionate group of professionals, including Pierre-Emmanuel’s daughter Vitalie and son Clovis.
WINE EVENTS AT TASTING AUSTRALIA 2022
There are 6 events focussed on French wine varietals at Tasting Australia 2022.
You know Bordeaux – but do you know Bolgheri? Delve into the art and culture of European winemaking at the highest level in this immersive masterclass.
There is no more esteemed winemaking region than that of Bordeaux. For generations it has excelled in crafting full-bodied wines from varieties including cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. These are the most collected and widely proliferated wines on earth.
Italy’s Bolgheri, meanwhile, is a relatively young but prestigious appellation found on the Tuscan coast and named after a town to the north. It is a jewel in the crown of Tuscan winemaking. Many winemaking families have crafted renowned wines based on Bordeaux grape varieties since the 1970s, adding them alongside the traditional grapes like sangiovese.
Robert Hill-Smith, proprietor of Yalumba and Negociants Australia, is a widely travelled and highly experienced palate who has tailored the fine fabric of Bordeaux and Tuscany for Australian audiences over many years. He knows first-hand the links between these great wine regions, the wines and the families who make them.
Melbourne-based fine wine importer and distributor Daniel Airoldi (who we feature regularly in our French wine varietal day articles) will set the scene with his modern view of standout producers and vintages from Bordeaux. He has done much to rekindle interest in Bordeaux wines in Australia and is a trusted ally of the region and its producers back in France. Airoldi has been based in Australia for the past 20 years and specialises in rare bottles sourced through an extensive network of premium producers.
Negociants Australia’s Tim Evans completes the panel. As one of Australia’s most accomplished purveyors of great international wine to the Australian market, Evans’ day-to-day dealings with the greatest wineries and winemakers around the world is second to none.
Chardonnay is where the world of white wine is at its most exciting and competitive. This masterclass features 12 wines on tasting from the Adelaide Hills, wider Australia, New Zealand and France – all selected on the basis of highest quality, typicity, reputation and global relevance.
The cut and thrust of chardonnay styles across these nations, producers and vintages is set to deliver a fascinating experience. Festival drinks curator and wine critic Nick Stock will be joined for the occasion by chardonnay-obsessed local winemaker Charlie Seppelt who hosts an annual tasting of the greatest chardonnay wines of Burgundy and makes his own version of world-class chardonnay in the Adelaide Hills under the Paralian label.
This tasting will be presented blind; you’ll know the wines, but not the order in which they will be served.
Can you pick the grand cru Burgundy among the best from around Australia, including leading names from the Adelaide Hills? How will they stack up against the best of the best? Join us to enjoy chardonnay at its peak.
Join Melbourne-based fine wine importer Patrick Walsh to explore the very best rieslings from around the world. Walsh, a former sommelier who founded and is director of Cellarhand, will guide guests through an immersive tasting set to celebrate this versatile variety at its peak.
Riesling has truly asserted itself as one of the world’s most revered and expressive wines – one that speaks so clearly of place. It is a wine like no other. The pursuit of uncompromising quality across the standout regions of Germany, Austria, France, New Zealand and Australia will be unpacked and imbibed in this tasting, one great wine at a time.
Joining Walsh are two national riesling stars: Tasmania’s Anna Pooley and Kerri Thompson from the Clare Valley. Both lay claim to shaping the leading edge of great Australian riesling and are among the sharpest riesling palates on our shores.
This masterclass invites you to explore standout syrah from France’s northern Rhône alongside an Australian maestro of cool-climate reds.
Clonakilla’s Tim Kirk, a former Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year, will be joined by Tasting Australia drinks curator Nick Stock to explore appellations across this fascinating part of France. The Northern Rhône is a region that challenges to the winemaker with steep sites having no guarantee of adequate sunlight for ripening – but delivers ample rewards. Its best-known wines include Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, with vignerons maintaining their own parcels of land and also purchasing fruit from neighbouring growers.
Kirk, presently celebrating his family label’s 50th anniversary, has a deep appreciation for the strength of cool-climate Australian reds. The Clonakilla vineyard was established in 1971 on a 17-hectare farm near the village of Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra. Its first commercial vintage was produced in 1976, with the fateful decision to plant viognier coming a decade later. Kirk visited Côte Rôtie in 1991, a journey that included tasting the 1988 single vineyard Cote Roties La Landonne, La Mouline and La Turque from barrel. He left with a vision for what his own shiraz viognier could become. Today it is hailed by James Halliday as an icon wine and among the best in Australia.
Let’s take a journey. Our destination? Cornas – the French appellation whose low-intervention syrah wines grow ever more desirable. In considering the great syrah wines of France’s northern Rhône, Cornas is something of an outlier. Its wines are typically the boldest of their neighbouring counterparts, known for flavours of blackberry jam, black pepper, violet and charcoal. Intense tannins are another Cornas hallmark, a tradition that has typically meant a long wait between bottling and enjoyment.
In recent years, however, many of the region’s smallest producers have lead the way with high-intensity viticulture and minimal intervention winemaking to craft a modern reputation as some of the greatest expressions of syrah made anywhere in the wine world.
You’ll explore wines from the region’s most revered producers like Clape and Thierry Allemand and be hosted by winemaker Fraser McKinley and Drinks Curator Nick Stock.
This exclusive event is a chance to taste the most sought-after white wines on the planet, the likes of Coche-Dury, Comtes Lafon, Domaine Roulot, Etienne Sauzet and Jean-Claude Ramonet from the stellar 2014 vintage.
Mother Vine will host this tasting of the rarest gems from Burgundy and experience the thrill delivered by their unveiling. You’ll be joined by Tasting Australia drinks curator Nick Stock and Negociants Australia’s Tim Evans, a duo set to share their deep knowledge of these unicorn wines.
Which events are you interested in going to at Tasting Australia 2022?