Hell of a night for “The Chef”

Hell of a night for The Chef

In a single shot, the English filmmaker Philip Barantini has filmed a real nightmare in the kitchen, fast, intense, nervous.

Actor Stephen Graham plays an overworked, overwhelmed, stoned, stressed, indebted, separated, exhausted boss.

He’s not at his best, the chef in Philip Barantini’s film. Even before entering his famous restaurant in London, “The Chef” (to be released on January 19), played by actor Stephen Graham, doesn’t look his best. It’s one of the biggest nights of the year, the Friday before Christmas, which awaits him in his establishment. But the chef is “out of his depth”, “at a loss”, and it’s a hell of a night that he’s going to have, and we’re going to have it too, since the English filmmaker thing to shoot this film in a single sequence, a single long scene.

As soon as he enters his establishment, the starred chef meets an official in charge of sanitary control, and already things aren’t going well, hygiene is failing, management is random, the bill is high. The first blow in the kitchen; there will be others, with his brigade to manage, a French apprentice, a wanker at the dishwasher, a waitress who flirts, a young suicidal pastry chef… and in the dining room, it’s full, numerous and demanding customers, unpleasant and unhappy for some of them, a TV chef who came with a gastronomic critic, an allergic bride-to-be, noisy influencers…

Philip Barantini was an actor, but he also worked for a dozen years in kitchens, he was a chef himself, and he necessarily injected into this film something seen and/or experienced. Four takes of “The Chef” were shot in two evenings, in a restaurant as the only setting; the third was the right one, without editing or splicing. In addition to the technical and artistic performance, this process immerses the viewer in a real drama in real time, in the middle of a gunfight. It is an intense, nervous, frenetic film. Overwhelmed, overwhelmed, stoned, stressed, in debt, separated, exhausted, the chief is unable to deal with all his shit; always lagging behind the action, the film and events move faster than he does. “The Chef” is thus the speedy tale of a real nightmare in the kitchen.

Patrick Tardit

“The Chef”, a film by Philip Barantini with Stephen Graham (out January 19).