Cuisinière (Jeanne Werner) has a new job working in the kitchen of a high-end restaurant. She’s obviously worked hard to get where she is, but she’s still incredibly nervous, even more so when the head chef (Malika Kathir) makes her presence known.
The head chef wants everybody to know that she demands the best and complete perfection. However, after an accident, Cuisinière starts to wonder whether she has what it takes. As the pressure builds up and things get out of her control, Cuisinière’s job and indeed her entire career may be in the balance.
CRU (raw in French) is a short film written and directed by David Oesch that shows the intense, up close and highly pressurized environment of working in a kitchen. Using a handheld camera that moves around rapidly, following Cuisinière as she moves about the kitchen, Oesch’s camera is always with her and the audience may feel the pressure she is under as she tries her best to do things right.
The accident may leave some audience members feeling a little squeamish, especially when the repercussions are shown when it briefly moves into the restaurant itself.
However, this may be the point that Oesch wants to make. The slightly dark humour and result of Cuisinière’s hard work may be difficult to stomach, but what CRU is saying that hard work and perseverance are all well and good, but for true success you may need to put in your chunk of flesh.
Kathir is fantastic as the stern and domineering chef, slowly walking around the room and smoking a cigarette all adding to her persona. The audience may even start to feel just as terrified as Cuisinière. Despite Kathir’s short stature, she still manages to keep an air of authority and Oesch’s direction makes sure that she never comes across as comedic. Werner is similarly well cast, her wide-eyed expressions of terror as she darts around the kitchen are surely something many people can identify with.
Either in their own workplace or at the hands of Gordon Ramsey on reality TV, so they easily connect with her. It’s up to the audience to decide on whether all Cuisinière’s hard work, determination and ambition is worth it in the end.
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