04 October 2010

Kings of Pastry

Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastien Canonne in Kings of Pastry.

My search for some entertainment this weekend led me to Film Forum where my choices were Nuremberg (which I want to see but was too serious for the mood I was in), Wrong Trousers (which I love but have seen before), or Kings of Pastry. I chose Kings and was not disappointed. Who knew pastry could be so interesting?

The documentary by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker follows sixteen French pastry chefs as they compete in the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition to be named best craftsmen in France or MOFs. The winners earn the privilege of wearing the coveted blue, white, and red striped collar, which is taken very seriously in France (as one of the chefs points out, "if you wear these collars and you're not a MOF you can go to jail."). Over three grueling days the finalists make dozens and dozens of pastries, from delicate cream puffs to elaborate sugar sculptures. The filmmakers focus on three of the competitors and you become so engrossed in their stories that when one has a setback, the entire audience gasped out loud.

The film plays at Film Forum through October 7. If you get a chance, please go see it. And be prepared when the film is over to make a beeline to your closest patisserie for some pastry.

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