New to DVD this week: FOODIES: THE CULINARY JETSET
Thomas Jackson, Charlotte Landelius, and Henrik Stockare’s profile of globetrotting gourmands debuted at San Sebastian in 2014. Its fest circuit also included CPH:DOX, Hot Docs, Göteborg, Vilnius, Sydney, Melbourne, Reykjavik, Adelaide, Durban, Tempo Doc, Hawaii, and Tokyo, among other events.
The documentary trio follow five intrepid bloggers who are obsessed with haute cuisine – so much so that they spend their time and money regularly traveling internationally to check out the most celebrated cuisine in the world and share their thoughts with their readership. Embraced by some chefs and met with uneasiness by others, their growing influence is begrudgingly noted, and, despite their amateur status, they’re often treated to chef’s tables and kitchen tours. Much is made of the extravagance of their avocation, with some having the wealth to indulge at will due to lucrative backgrounds in modeling or the music industry, or, in one young man’s case, by being floated by his parents, but this ultimately isn’t that interesting, nor really mined for satire or criticism. The filmmakers don’t provide much insight into the bloggers themselves, and, oddly, don’t spotlight their writing at all, making the project more of a broad look at the phenomenon rather than an in-depth consideration of the individuals. As a travelogue filled with tantalizing food porn, it succeeds, but in barely scratching the surface of the provocative questions raised by the popularization of this kind of amateur instant food criticism, the doc leaves something on the plate.