Andy Hayler is a facebook friend of mine, though I admit I've never met him. I'm not sure when we first connected online, nor who first sent the friend request. What I do know is that Andy and I connected over our common interests, our love of food and high end dining, though I pale in comparison to his addiction. British, Andy Hayler is the only person in the world to have eaten at every three star Michelin restaurant of a given year. As an extension of our life long passion, Andy Hayler and I are also both food bloggers.
In the opening shots of the film Foodies, this guy is seated at a table when he is offered a glass of Champagne. As he describes how he doesn't particularly like Moet & Chandon, and how he thought they'd offer him the house Bollinger that's listed on the tasting menu, and he pushes the half-finished glass away, there are some sniggers in the Sydney Film Festival audience. Yet, I can relate. I don't particularly like Moet & Chandon either. It isn't until later in the documentary that I think 'I recognised that face', though it's as much his name and some recent facebook posts of interest that help me put two and two together. I enjoy reading his facebook posts. They are knowledgeable and informative from the other side of the world. So it was good to put a voice to the face and learn more about him.
Foodies was publicised as a film about food bloggers and in particularly the jet-set self-funded world of the self-proclaimed food critics eating at the best restaurants on earth. And it is. As well as Andy Hayler, we follow the elegant Lithuanian Aiste Miseviciute, the loud and obnoxious New Yorker Steve Plotnicki, newbie blogger Katie Keiko Tan from Hong Kong and the charming Perm Paitayawat whose family lives in Thailand although he has now relocated. So far, so good.
But Foodies misses the mark.
This documentary is drawn out with lengthy often uninteresting and disconnected monologues by the five food bloggers. The interviews don't really seek any interesting information from the subjects. They ramble on in their lonely world (these five mostly dine alone) and we are presented again and again with their diatribe at tables across the globe. If that's not bad enough, the film is like a blunt serrated knife cutting all over the place and cutting into our nerves. There is no flow. We feel no connection. Emphasis sits in the wrong places. There is nothing about the filmmaking, the cinematography or editing to commend itself. When we are introduced to new locations there are long irrelevant passages of street scenes and pedestrian crossings which painfully and without purpose draw out the documentary and we yawn.
This could have been an interesting topic. Anyone interested in food would be keen to see a documentary about the top restaurants in the world, but would come seeking lots of food. Don't be misled. The documentary is singular. It aims to only cover why these elite food bloggers, blog. There is some food, but it's more than an hour into the 94 minutes before we get much of a taste and start to hear from the chefs. We rarely see inside a kitchen. Where were the insights into the produce, the techniques and the inspiration behind the dishes? That would have been far more interesting. Isn't that what the food bloggers are interested in? There's none of that. There's some random images of dishes flashed across the screen in the latter part of the film. What restaurant is that dish from? Who is the chef? Who knows?
Sometimes when you see a film you shake your head and think 'what were they thinking?' This is one such film.