I usually review music and entertainment items on Amazon but - when something catches my eye outside that arena - I often review those releases. This is one of those cases.
This has been an "Andrew Rossi Film Festival" week for me. Two days ago I watched - and reviewed here on Amazon - his latest film: "Page One" about the New York Times and the effect of digital media on the printed newspaper. Then yesterday I got Rossi's previous directing effort: Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven" which he made on 2008. Both are excellent.
I won't go into the details of the film since fellow reviewer KG Harris has already done a fine job of that. But I'll add a few more insights, that I hope will be helpful.
This film was produced by the HBO Documentary division of HBO Films and is being distributed on DVD by First Run Features - which has, over the last few years, created a niche in "foodie films" - "Kings of Pastry", " Guy Martin" and even "Dive!" (About dumpster divers - all of which I've reviewed on Amazon.
Rossi uses the same techniques as "Page One" here, getting total access to be with the Maccioni family (Sirio, the founder of Le Cirque, his wife, and their three sons) for a three year period. When he read that Sirio was closing the restaurant in the Palace Hotel, he realized he had only three months before that last serving on 12/31/2004. He followed the family for the next two years as they built and staffed the new location in the Bloomsberg Building. And you feel like a fly-on-the-wall in some scenes where Sirio and his sons argue. There's even a scene where Sirio enters an elevator, after a disappointment, and it's just he and the camera, alone, for 15 seconds.
Sirio started in the Restaurant business as a bus boy at age 13. He is Italian, but runs a French restaurant. It may be one of the priciest restaurants in NY, but when he comes home - to what looks like a simple apartment, with a kitchen that looks likes most average American families, there is his wife cooking a traditional Italian meal. The other "down to earth" scene I loved was that, while creating and building the new location, where do the mother and sons (One of who runs the Las Vegas location of Le Cirque) go for lunch? McDonalds!
There is even a small overlap between Ross's "Page One" and this film. When they show the reports from New York papers commenting on the new location opening, there is NY Times Media reporter David Carr - a main character in "Page One". Like Carr, the Le Cirque film is more about Sirio and his sons than about food. But foodies will love it.
The Bonus features include a "Q &A with The Director", which is a text interview, rather than a filmed one, which is interesting. There are also three "Bonus Scenes" (total six minutes) that really add nothing to the story.
I'm not sure what Rossi's next film project is but - based on these two films - I'm really looking forward to them.