L’Aile ou la Cuisse

Claude Zidi (1976)

My current obsession for Louis de Funes continues with another movie I have seen a lot of times when I was young. Watching it again after a few years I was again pleasantly surprised.

Charles Duchemin, editor of a prestigious culinary guide, is near retirement, and wants his son Gérard to succeed him, but Gérard has other ambitions and is secretly running a circus. When ruthless food-industry giant Jacques Tricatel tries to steal the new edition of the guide for nefarious purposes, father and son will join forces to fight for the integrity of French cuisine.

The Bad: Not much, my usual pacing issues (I have got to stop using that one…), a few goofy things near the end at the food plant

The Good: The De-Funes/Coluche duo works well, they’re not trying to out-shine each other. Julien Guiomar as Tricatel is hilariously over the top and it works wonders for his persona.

My opinion: I really like this movie, it gently mocks the sometimes stiff traditions around French gastronomy, but at the same time recognizes how great and unique it is, and how it should be defended against industrial low-quality food. It is quite a touching role for Louis de Funes, coming back after a health issue. He still is very mean with others, but also more nuanced, as he clearly cares deeply about his son and his legacy. What he lost in energy is compensated with focus. Definitely among his best performances.

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