I’ve been moaning and groaning for weeks about the seemingly unfortunate fate of Tran Anh Hung’s The Pot au Feu, which I praised several weeks ago during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
The greatest foodie flick of the 21st Century and a hit waiting to happen among over-35 viewers, this Cannes award-winner (i.e., Best Director) was hit with a waffle iron when it was acquired by IFC Films and Sapan Studios earlier this summer.
The instant I heard this I went “oh, God…no.”
As I wrote on 6.28 (“What A Bummer for The Pot au Feu), I’ve long believed that an IFC Films distribution deal is almost tantamount to a kiss of death, as IFC Films seems to specialize in acquiring exciting, critically hailed titles only to bury them.
Will The Pot au Feu show up in Telluride? One can only hope, but I’ve been developing a theory that cash-poor IFC Films (which is based in Manhattan) might be reluctant to offer The Pot au Feu at Telluride and Toronto because they’re too cheap to pay for air fare and hotel rooms for a modest Pot au Feu entourage (i.e., no actors due to the SAFG/AFTRA strike).
I might be wrong, but my intuition tells me these guys REALLY have no discretionary income.
I was thrown even further today when The Pot au Feu didn’t even appear on the New York Film Festival lineup. Right in their home town. Infuriating.
There’s no question that The Pot au Feu is one of the best-directed, most audience-friendly films out there, and yet none of the early fall festivals seem to be playing it. NYFF hasn’t announced its slate of premieres (to be unveiled sometime around 8.24 or 8.25), but why the hell would they leave it off their prime list? Tran Anh Hung won the Best Director prize last May on the Cote d’Azur. Indiewire‘s David Ehrlich called it “some kind of masterpiece.” Variety‘s Guy Lodge praised it to the heavens.
All I can figure is that IFC Films’ management is not offering it to the festivals for some totally perverse reason. Or a candy-assed one. They’re specialists at suffocating films by not promoting them, I realize, but…
Friendo: It has a shot at Telluride.
HE: Based on what intel?
Friendo: Based purely based on Julie Huntsinger‘s tastes.
HE: Just tell me — am I crazy?
Friendo: The Pot au Feu is not the type of highbrow movie that NYFF programmers tend to screen. I never expected it to show up. I’ve been saying all along it’s a perfect fit for Telluride.
HE: What the fuck is going on?
Friendo: I’m surprised it’s not at TIFF but Cameron Bailey has destroyed that festival by insisting on world premieres. Due to this policy, there’s a lot of stuff missing this year from the TIFF line-up.
HE: When you say “highbrow NYFF pick,” you mean “a film that Dennis Lim likes.”
Friendo: Precisely. Slow arthouse cinema. Film Comment-level stuff.