TV series review: Foodie Love
- Isabel Coixet invites us to sample the delights of a romance-infused gastronomic menu with a sprinkling of Laia Costa and Guillermo Pfening, taking in Barcelona, Tokyo and France
Sometimes, when one tries a new food, cocktail or sweet for the very first time, one is overwhelmed by a feeling of bewilderment: given that this is a new flavour that has never been experienced before by one’s taste buds, it takes some getting used to. But after a few minutes, once this test is over, either it gets the green light and one continues munching away, or it gets discarded in favour of other foodstuffs. The same thing happens with Foodie Love, the first fictional TV series to be directed in its entirety by the ever-restless Isabel Coixet: following its baffling beginning, which is somewhat overloaded with condiments, colours and other stimuli, one’s senses acclimatise to the banquet, and one begins, little by little, to appreciate its aromas, its nuances and, above all, the very essence of the show. This is because the chef-cum-film buff from San Adrián de Besós (Barcelona) has poured each and every one of her most personal recipes into it.
Foodie Love is pure, undiluted Coixet, from the appetiser right through to the dessert: if you weren’t a fan of My Life Without Me [+see also:
film profile], A los que aman or Things I Never Told You, you’d better change tables immediately. If the advertising-like aesthetics that the filmmaker has been cultivating through her numerous commercials is also too much for you, you might as well ask for a different menu entirely. But if Coixet, the winner of various Goya Awards for The Bookshop [+see also:
film profile], is your cup of tea, you may also gorge yourself at the feast that Isabel has laid out for you here: yes, we will refer to her by her first name because it’s so easy to recognise her hallmark in each and every one of her settings, cocktails and ingredients.
In this particular production, she wheels out Tokyo and ramen, the difficulties inherent in romantic relationships, sexual tension between people who are attracted to each other, and the neuroses of the present day. She also makes use of some scintillating dialogue, beautiful locations and handsome/stylish/urbane actors: Catalan thesp Laia Costa plays a bespectacled publisher who sets up a date with an architect played by Argentina’s Guillermo Pfening (who previously worked with Coixet on Nobody’s Watching [+see also:
film profile], produced by the director herself, through Miss Wasabi Films) through a dating app: what follows are the couple’s subsequent dates, each one unfolding in a place where the food and drink are also protagonists themselves, demanding the same level of attention from the camera as the actors.
And the recipe really is that simple and effective – no secret ingredients here – making for a series about the new formats of romantic relationships, in which each chapter has its own tone and style, depending on the setting in which it takes place, and with a plethora of surprises in store, such as the cameos by Coixet’s very own Elisa & Marcela [+see also:
film profile] – in other words, Natalia de Molina and Greta Fernández – and chef Ferran Adrià. In addition, it boasts a subtle and exquisite soundtrack, a host of cinematic, televisual and pop references (with no lack of comic book-like speech bubbles or emoticons to represent the characters’ thoughts), the presence of elegant French actress Agnès Jaoui and a hilarious turn by comedian Yolanda Ramos in the role of a lesbian waitress: a total scene-stealer who is already screaming for her own programme.
Foodie Love is an eight-episode series, each one lasting 30 minutes. It was written and directed by Isabel Coixet, and was produced by Miss Wasabi Films for HBO España, which will air it from 4 December 2019. The rest of the continent will be able to savour it on HBO Europe from 25 December onwards, after it has been shown at a clutch of events, such as Brussels’ Are You Series?.
(Translated from Spanish)
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