Lunch and Film: The Grocer’s Son
Location: Santa Fe Council on International Relations conference room, 413 Grant Avenue, Suite D
Cost: $20 includes lunch (provided by Clafoutis) and film
This event is currently sold out. If you are still interested in attending, please call the CIR office: (505) 982-4931
Discussion to follow the movie, facilitated by former CIR Board Member, Rob Reider.
The Grocer’s Son (released in France as Le Fils de l’épicier) is a dramatic film set in Provence, France, directed by experienced French documentarian Éric Guirado. The film was presented as part of the 2007 Namur Francophone Film Festival. It is 96 minutes long.
The rolling countryside of Provence may be a dream vacation spot, but it is the last place in the world that Antoine, the sullen 30-year-old grocer’s son would like to be. In this French variation of the prodigal son, Antoine reluctantly returns to his rural hometown after 10 years in Paris when his father has a heart attack.
Someone has to run the family’s grocery store while his father recovers, and his unhappily married older brother who stayed by their parents when Antoine fled, insists the time has come for Antoine to shoulder some responsibility. While their mother has minded the store, their father has operated a van selling produce and staples to the area’s mostly elderly inhabitants.
This small gem of a film was a surprise hit in France. As the movie affectionately observes the gruff, self-reliant customers, some of whom hobble to the van on canes, it has a documentary-like realism. You grow to respect these hardy, weather-beaten people who lived their whole lives close to the land.
Antoine brings to his customers the same surly, put-upon attitude with which he confronted his superiors in urban restaurants where he held and lost a succession of waiter’s jobs. Brusque and detached, he repeatedly offends old folks whom his father had befriended. Even when they voice their disgruntlement, Antoine doesn’t seem to notice.
It is only when he is joined by Claire, a free-spirited friend visiting from the city, that his attitude begins to soften. After she suggests painting the white van in circus colors and calling it the Flying Grocery, the drudgery becomes more of a lark. The movie captures family dynamics with an acuteness that reveals decades of stored grievances. “The Grocer’s Son” is a triumphant accumulation of such quirky, perfectly observed details.
Clafoutis is the next best thing to being in Paris! The owner/chef, Philippe Ligier, is a classically trained baker who creates luscious pastries, breads, crepes, sandwiches, soups and quiches that are simply wonderful. This little slice of the French countryside in Santa Fe is your best source for classic French bistro fare.