Presented at the Angers Festival, “Umami” directed by Slony Sow, with Gérard Depardieu and Pierre Richard, should soon arrive in our theaters. A film that will take a starred chef, in the midst of a family breakdown, from the banks of the Loire to Japan, in search of the famous fifth flavor as much as the meaning of life.
Umami: family and gastronomy on the program
Shot in part in the Saumur region, the film Umami4878798 by Slony Sow was presented for the very first time at the 2022 Festival d’Angers. A film which we hear little about, which still does not have a national release date, but which nevertheless aligns a royal cast and a very attractive scenario.
On a frame of family drama in the middle of the gastronomic kitchen, it is indeed nothing less than a legendary comic duo that is reformed, with Gérard Depardieu and Pierre Richard headlining. The latter had also celebrated on Twitter, during filming in 2020.
Together, we owe them between 1981 and 1986 a series of three blockbusters comedies produced by Francis Veber: The goat, Freinds, and The fugitives.
An intimate and culinary journey
The official synopsis of Umami below details a story that should make us go through all the emotions.
The establishment “Monsieur Quoi un” is located at the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud a few kilometers from the historic center of Saumur and it is there that its illustrious Chef Gabriel Carvin (Gérard Depardieu) celebrates the arrival of his third star. . On the evening of that same sacrament day, his wife Louise (Sandrine Bonnaire) leaves him and finds herself in the bed of her lover, Robert (Antoine Duléry), the food critic to whom Gabriel owes his stars.
This brutal separation triggers a family crisis which cuts the Chief off from his two sons. Starting with Jean (Bastien Bouillon), the restaurant’s sous-chef who desperately tries to follow in his father’s footsteps in the kitchen, but fails. The youngest, Nino (Rod Paradot) is an idealist who rejects all consumerism and who seeks above all love, true…
For Gabriel, the overflow of resentment, therefore, strikes him in the heart: myocardial infarction. A drama for this hyperactive who must now survive far from his pans. He who has led his life without ever really caring about others finds himself dependent on them… What’s the point of continuing to live at 70 in the expectation of perhaps one day reconnecting with his art. Where to find a new passion that would force him to take this salutary break for his mental and physical health?
It is in the oyster farm of his old friend Rufus (Pierre Richard) that the unexpected idea of going to Japan emerges in order to discover the secrets of the fifth flavor of the palate: umami, teaching he could find with the one who had beaten him in the contest of the “best chef in the world” in 1978. It is under hypnosis that Gabriel comes to remember this bitter defeat that had almost made him give up cooking…
Slony Sow on familiar ground
Slony Sow, director of umami, has thus surrounded himself with an ideal cast to tell this story, between Japan and on the banks of the Loire, with in addition to those already mentioned: Zinedine Soualem, Assa Sylla, and the Japanese actors Kyozo Nagatsuka, Eriko Takeda and Akira Emoto. He also knows Gérard Depardieu very well, since he directed him in two short films in 2011 and 2019, winter frog and Crystal Frog.
A story centered on a bereaved winegrower, who will first meet a young Japanese woman (Eriko Takeda) to save her, only to find her seven years later in Tokyo. It is obvious that umami is in line with these creations, and that the director, therefore, knows perfectly well what he is doing in this feature film.