Esteemed documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s latest is a food-lover’s heaven — a long, behind-the-scenes excursion into the world of France’s venerable restaurant La Maison Troisgros, which has held three Michelin stars for more than five decades.
Menus-Plaisirs Les Troisgros
For over 50 years, the venerable French restaurant La Maison Troisgros has held three Michelin stars. That’s nearly as long as the career of filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, age 93, who embedded himself at the restaurant for several weeks in the spring of 2022.
Wiseman has spent his career documenting the inner workings of institutions. The bulk of his work is set in the US, but he has long been drawn to France, spending a few youthful years in Paris in the 1950s and, more recently, making the city his home base. For this new film, he travels outside Lyon to the town of Roanne.
The phrase menus plaisirs translates to “small pleasures” — and this film is rich with them. Wiseman explores the rarefied world of the Troisgros family, who have operated their establishment for four generations. He and his cameraman James Bishop observe the restaurant’s owners and workers from multiple perspectives. They catch the place in a moment of transition as long-time proprietors Michel and Marie-Pierre gradually pass the reins to their son Cesar. In the kitchen, the chefs operate like artists in their handling of exquisite dishes. In the dining room, the staff address all guests as “Madame” and “Monsieur.” The place attracts people who care deeply about food, savouring each dish with their eyes, noses, and smartphones.
You may never get to visit La Maison Troisgros yourself, but for the nearly four hours of this film, you can soak up the atmosphere at an unhurried pace.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Luminaries The latest from the world’s most influential art-house filmmakers. A designated subsection of films within Centrepiece, Wavelengths, and TIFF Docs sections.