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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Birnenkuchen mit Lavendel ( Le goût des merveilles )

France 2015
Opening March 10, 2016

Directed by: Éric Besnard
Writing credits: Éric Besnard
Principal actors: Virginie Efira, Benjamin Lavernhe, Hervé Pierre

Birnenkuchen mit Lavendel ( Le goût des merveilles ) Ah, Provence. Orchards, fields of lavender, local markets, rustic kitchens. It’s all there in this film, filmed entirely in the village of Nyon in the Rhône-Alpes region. Louise (Efira), recently widowed mother of two, runs a traditional orchard farm all on her own. However, her lack of prospects and cash is rapidly forcing her into bankruptcy.

On market day, after a couple of drinks at the bar and a reckless drive home, she collides with Pierre (Lavernhe) in the road outside her home. Pierre is at first a mystery: he refuses to leave, sorts out her kitchen, tastes the homemade cake, inspects the pear trees. Gradually this gentle man becomes a part of Louise’s life, and a love story develops between the two.

I was expecting the worst, an Asperger character whose eccentric ticks and quirks dominate the story, and then I was wonderfully surprised. Lavernhe is a theater actor at the Comédie Française, and his Pierre is sweet, a subtle and a genuinely lovable character. Efira’s Louise seems ordinary in comparison, but her fighting spirit and her down-to-earth qualities makes her a good foil to Pierre. The rest of the family and the local bookseller Jules (Pierre) make up a cozy circle of locals I felt I had known forever.

This is a very pleasant way to spend a chilly day while waiting for the fruit trees to blossom. ()

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