I recently had the rare opportunity to see a movie in the middle of the week. Okay, truth be told, I was bullied into going to the movie. But one thing is certain, I am a good friend, and one of my best buddies was celebrating a milestone. Well, a milestone of sorts, a milestone I was proud of at least, and a milestone that I was more than willing to attend. Our little but well known film club was celebrating its 200th film. And celebrate we did, with food, drinks, sweatbands, and the wonderfully intimate King Georges.
This delightfully charming documentary tells the story of chef George Perrier and his restaurant Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia. Perrier, originally from France, opened this famous restaurant over 40 years ago with the idea of elegance, 10 course meals, fine french dining and $100,000 chandlers. Known across the nation, Le Bec-Fin quickly became the go to place in Philly, complete with month-long waiting lists and celebrity clientele. Perrier, fiery and loud mouthed in the kitchen, was adored by not only by the rich and famous, but by his staff as well, mentoring numerous up and coming chefs. The most notable is ‘Top Chef” winner Nicholas Elmi.
However, Perrier could not keep up with the ever changing tastes of foodies, or more likely he was unwilling. After adding Elmi as a partner and still not keeping up, Perrier closed the doors of Le Bec-Fin forever. No more four hour dinners, no more crystal chandlers, and ever more tragic, I would never get to try those delicious looking crab cakes!
First time director, Erika Frankel, did a lovely job of telling a linear and uncomplicated story. While Perrier was depicted as the stereotypical angry French chef, he was also warm, funny and caring. This restaurant was not only his livelihood, but his life and his love. Perrier was incredibly hard working and lovable. The film, at just under an hour and a half, was easy, pleasurable, and fun to watch. As an audience member, I was entertained as well as invested in the relationships taking place on screen. I was also very very hungry and terribly sad that I would never have a chance to partake in this fine dining experience….
So cheers to Georges Perrier for creating an atmosphere of fine dining in a city known for its sandwiches on the go. Cheers to Erika Frankel for bringing this lovable and fiery chef to the big screen. And most of all cheers to Andy and Film Club 3.0. You had a dream as well, to bring independent films to our small community. And that you did, over 200 films and 5 Lost Weekends in a little over two years. You have changed cinema for me, you have expanded my knowledge of independent movies I would have never had the chance to see, and most of all you have bought this community together. I am so proud of you and I am so proud to call you my friend.