5 Top Foreign and Indie Picks for Your Queue | Fast Scans

This month's top foreign and indie picks feature a revenge-serving restaurant, a single mother struggling to balance her life, and a dig at Britain's rigid caste system. 

Delicious. 113 min. In French w/English subtitles. Samuel Goldwyn. 2021. DVD UPC 850028052242. $19.99. DRAMEDY
In pre-Revolution France, Manceron (Grégory Gadebois) serves as cook for a self-styled nobleman, the Duke of Chamfort (Benjamin Lavernhe), who dismisses him for serving a “displeasing” dish. Licking his wounds, Manceron takes his culinary skills to a countryside inn and opens a restaurant for commoners, with an apprentice (Isabelle Carré) who has a grudge against the duke. Revenge may indeed be a dish best served cold in writer-director Éric Besnard’s lushly shot paean to gastronomy. VERDICT Viewers who found The Menu hard to swallow might find this palatable.

Full Time. 88 min. In French w/English subtitles. Music Box Films. 2022. DVD UPC 751778951857. $29.99. DRAMA
A single mother raising two children, Julie Roy (Laure Calamy) works as a head chambermaid in a five-star Paris hotel while interviewing for a marketing-firm job more befitting her résumé. Her long commute complicated by a transit strike, Julie is stretched thin, juggling childcare, work demands, and cash flow, due to an ex-husband who’s late with alimony. Writer-director Éric Gravel treats a familiar story arc like a thriller, building the tension as his flawed but sympathetic heroine walks a tightrope. VERDICT More than working moms will identify with Julie’s situation.

One Fine Morning. 112 min. In French w/English subtitles. Sony. 2022. DVD UPC 043396632141. $23.49; Blu-ray UPC 043396632158. $29.99. DRAMA
A widow of five years with a young daughter, Sandra (Léa Seydoux) struggles to find care for her neurologically declining father (Pascal Greggory). Then she begins an affair with Clément (Melvil Poupaud), an unhappily married friend of her late husband’s. Avoiding any melodrama, writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve (Bergman Island) takes a quintessentially French “life goes on” approach toward turbulent events where happiness and grief naturally coexist. Sporting a pixie cut and sans makeup, Seydoux is aptly deglamorized. VERDICT Ooh la la for Francophiles.

The Quiet Girl. 95 min. In Gaelic w/English subtitles. Allied Vaughn. 2022. DVD UPC 810103689237. $22.99. Rated: PG-13. DRAMA
The nine-year-old daughter of poor and neglectful parents, Cait (Catherine Clinch) is shuffled off to stay with distant relatives—middle-aged Eibhlín (Carrie Crowley) and Seán (Andrew Bennett)—for the final trimester of her overburdened mother’s pregnancy. Shy at first, Cait slowly opens up at her foster parents’ rural Irish farm, especially after the couple’s painfully kept secret is finally acknowledged. Writer-director Colm Bairéad’s subtly poignant coming-of-age story features a great lead performance. VERDICT This recent Oscar nominee is simply a must.

The Servant. 115 min. Criterion Collection. 1963. Blu-ray UPC 715515284714. $39.95. DRAMA
A rich, carefree Londoner, Tony (James Fox) employs working-class Hugo (Dirk Bogarde) as a valet. While initially pretending to know his place, the manservant gradually takes over his master’s life, which includes convincing Tony to hire his “sister” (Sarah Miles) as a live-in maid. Director Joseph Losey creates a brooding atmosphere in dramatizing playwright Harold Pinter’s cunning script, which flips the power balance in a dig at Britain’s rigid class system. VERDICT Restored in high definition, this British cinema classic earns its place as a core-collection pick.


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