Way back in 2010, we had dinner with our friends Juliet and Mark. (Clay and Juliet used to work together at National Geographic.) The two of us were about to leave for a two-week trip to Argentina, and we made some off-hand comment about needing book recommendations for our vacation.
Juliet leapt up, grabbed a book and virtually threw it at us. "You have to read this!" she said. "It hasn't even been published in the United States yet; this is the Indian version." The book was The Hundred-Foot Journey, by Richard Morais.
Juliet told us she'd first seen the book while visiting a book-agent friend of hers. And she also told us something that night a little more surprising: "We bought the rights to the book and I want to produce the movie."
Flash forward, and that's exactly what Juliet did. She partnered with a couple other producers -- you may know them. Steven Spielberg? And Oprah Winfrey? And together, they made a film!
Earlier this week, we got to see The Hundred-Foot Journey at an advance screening here in D.C.
We have two pieces of advice for you.
- Go see this movie when it opens Aug. 8!
- Don't go on an empty stomach.
We really loved this movie! It's lovely and incredibly charming. And it will make you want to book a trip to France immédiatement.
The film follows Hassan, a young cook from India, and his family as they open a restaurant in the South of France -- across the street from a renowned French restaurant helmed by Madame Mallory, played by Helen Mirren. The movie focuses intently on the actual food -- long, loving shots of Indian curries, gorgeous produce, and exquisite French cuisine.
It's directed by Lasse Halström, who also directed Chocolat in 2000. So, you know, if you like movies about food set in France, he's your guy.
Some things we learned from the Q&A following last night's screening:
-- All the food you see in The Hundred-Foot Journey is real food. The food was from real chefs (including famed Indian chef Floyd Cardoz, who is based in New York).
-- Much of the movie was shot in and around Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, a village in the South of France that will make you want to run from the theater, grab your passport and head to the airport, because it's so gorgeous. Several scenes take place in the Sunday farmers market in the heart of the village, using the actual vendors and farmers.
The movie opens next Friday, August 8. You should see it!
But be forewarned: You will be starving by the time it's over.
(In case it needs to be said for anyone: This isn't a sponsored post. We just wanted to tell you about an enjoyable film that one of our friends helped produce. We're not getting any money from this. But we wouldn't turn down a trip to the South of France, if Spielberg and Oprah want to pony up.)