The Tasting brings together Isabelle Carré and Bernard Campan in the leading roles of this rom-com after they first shared the screen together in Zabou Breitman’s film Beautiful Memories (Se souvenir des belles choses) twenty years ago. The film was directed and written by Ivan Calbérac who adapted it to film from his play. He also adapted The Student and Mr Henri (AFFFF 2016), which we enjoyed, from his own play.
Hortense (Isabelle Carré, who you may recognise from Delicious or De Gaulle from recent years of the AFFFF or from Romantics Anonymous from AFFFF 2012) is a midwife who is totally enamoured by the babies she delivers. A devout catholic, she attends church with her mother every Sunday. She prepares dinner for the homeless once a week. She may appear a bit awkward and even nervous at times but she is smart and calculating in her decisions.
She visits the local wineshop owned by Jacques (Bernard Campan, A Bag of Marbles, AF FFF17 and Beautiful Minds (Presque) from Sydney Film Festival 2021) to buy a bottle of wine for a dinner and sees that he offers wine tastings from time to time and expresses interest in attending one. Jacques is on the verge of bankruptcy and schedules her in for a few days’ time (in a diary from 2005 that he has changed the days in!). A heart-scare sees the man whose life revolves around wine forced to give up alcohol – even though he tries to tell his Doctor “wine isn’t alcohol”. To help with his money problems, and to have some assistance, he’s encouraged to take on an intern from a difficult background and takes on Steve.
Intern Steve (Mounir Amamra) was very funny and had some great, quick-witted lines in the script. But he was also thankfully multi-dimensional. The guy who lives in a group home was admittedly more interested in getting drunk than appreciating the wine, but of all the participants showed promise accurately deciphering the odours and tastes present in the wines. But while it may be Jacques that is teaching Steve about wine, it’s Steve who opens Jacques eyes to Hortense’s interest in him.
Sleazy bookshop owner, Guillaume (Éric Viellard, Place publique, AFFFF 2019, and Aurore, AFFFF 2018) comes out with all the pick-up lines imaginable when he first meets Hortense at the wine tasting at Jacques’ shop.
There are plenty of awkward moments for Hortense and Jacques from their first meeting to them getting together. Each have their own issues to reconcile, and for Jacques in particular it is difficult to see beyond them. Their awkward moments were so well portrayed that some in the cinema were yelling at them “oh come on!”. We were all quietly cheering for them when they finally got together! There are some more serious moments in the film but they are well balanced so as not to leave audiences feeling sad. This is above all a romantic comedy and unlike some other films billed as comedies, this definitely is.
All of the actors in The Tasting played their parts really well and convincingly. Guillaume, for example, had us squirming at his sleaziness. Steve’s cheeky delivery of lines teasing his boss was perfect.
The Tasting was mostly filmed in and around Troyes and the wineshop where Jacques works is in fact a real one: the Cellier Saint Pierre in the centre of the town of Troyes in the Aube department in France’s Grand Est region. The winery scenes were filmed in Tonnerre in the neighbouring Yonne department in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.
The Tasting is a very enjoyable romantic comedy about two awkward single people forming an unlikely couple while trying to reconcile their own issues and pasts. Just like a good wine, The Tasting has a lasting finish.
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of the Alliance Française French Film Festival.
To find out when The Tasting is showing in your city, click here.
KEY INFO FOR AFFFF 2023
WHAT: Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 (AFFFF 2023) – the 34th edition of the largest celebration of French film outside of France!
WHERE & WHEN:
Adelaide, SA: 23rd March to 19th April (plus encore screenings) – Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas
Brisbane, QLD: 15th March to 12th April (plus encore screenings)– Palace James Street, Palace Barracks
Gold Coast, QLD: 29th March to 16th April (plus encore screenings) – Dendy Southport
Bendigo, VIC: 21st to 23rd April – Star Cinema
Sydney, NSW: 7th March to 5th April – Palace Central, Palace Verona, Palace Norton St, Chauvel Cinema, Hayden Orpheum Cremorne Melbourne, VIC: 8th March to 5th April – Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth, The Astor Theatre, The Kino, Pentridge Cinema Perth, WA: 8th March to 5th April – Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema, Palace Raine Square, Camelot Outdoor Cinema Canberra, ACT: 9th March to 5th April – Palace Electric Cinema Hobart, TAS: 9th to 19th March – State Cinema Byron Bay, NSW: 16th March to 5th April – Palace Byron Bay Port Pirie, Renmark, Whyalla, Mount Gambier: 24th March to 26th March – Northern Festival, Chaffey Theatre, Middleback Arts Centre, Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre Parramatta, NSW: 29th March to 2nd April – Riverside Theatre Parramatta Victor Harbour, SA: 3rd and 10th April – Victa Cinema
HOW: The full program of 39 films can be viewed at the official Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 website via this link: https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/
HOW MUCH: Ticket prices vary between cities and there are also discounted festival passes available if you want to see several films. (NB You will need to pick the films and sessions when purchasing the pass)
See below for more AFFFF content
Our picks from the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 program
Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 first 15 films announced
A good Doctor delivers a dose of hilarity in the unexpected
Country Cabaret: a fun farm film to see at AFFFF 2023
Final Cut: a comedic zombie film that’s even for people who don’t like horror or gore
Happy 50/Plancha is about a group vacation gone wrong
Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde is a fun adventure
In On the wandering paths, Jean Dujardin takes the path less travelled
Paris Memories traces the difficulties of being a survivor of the Paris terrorist attacks
Ride Above is an inspiring, but predictable, film about finding the courage to ride again
Sugar and Stars: an inspiring tale about the road to sweet success
Silver Rockers: a film inspired by the story of rocker retirees from Normandy
The Colours of Fire: an heiress seeks revenge
The Origin of Evil is a must-see film this AFFFF
Which films won at the César 2023 and where you can watch them
To discover other events with French and francophone links happening in your city, check out our What’s on in April article.