NOSE TO TAIL
82mins - 2018 - Canada - English
Directed by Jesse Zigelstein
Written by Jesse Zigelstein
Produced by Tony Wosk, Douglas Nyback
Composed by Ben Fox
Cinematography by Benjamin Lichty
Edited by James Vandewater
DANIEL (Aaron Abrams) is a driven, uncompromising, and often disagreeable fine-dining chef who runs his small but gastronomically ambitious bistro with an iron fist. He’s also a physical and emotional wreck, a workaholic fueled by alcohol and painkillers, at best intensely demanding of his staff and exacting in his standards, at worst a petty, abrasive tyrant quick to clash with everyone in his personal and professional orbit.
Once a fashionable and relatively successful mainstay of the culinary scene, Daniel’s restaurant is now struggling and on the verge of bankruptcy, an incipient crisis he’s desperately trying to forestall while at the same time hiding the direness of the situation from everyone around him. As he scrambles to rescue his business—i.e., his baby, his raison d’etre, the very core of his identity and self-conception—Daniel must contend with the relentless pressures of running a high-end eatery as well as the fraying of his relationships with colleagues and intimates alike.
After an all-night bender during which he brainstorms the perfect tasting menu to impress a potential investor, Daniel oversees the rigorous weekend prep routine with the help of his trusty chef de cuisine, KEITH (Brandon McKnight). Meanwhile he also readies the front of the house in consultation with loyal sommelier STEVEN (Salvatore Antonio) and feisty girl Friday CHLOE (Lara Jean Chorostecki), his sometime paramour who’s entirely unafraid to call the boss out when he’s being a deluded or unreasonable asshole.
As Daniel grapples with disgruntled employees, recalcitrant suppliers, and an intrusive food blogger (Lauren Collins), he’s also threatened with an ultimatum from his ornery landlord (Robert B. Kennedy)—not to mention continually aggravated by the presence of a popular gourmet food truck parked tauntingly across the street from his establishment. When key personnel defect to the despised competition and his estranged ex-wife (Carolina Bartczak) drops by with their son (Cody Black) to disclose some devastating news, Daniel becomes increasingly unhinged and liable to lash out at anyone who crosses his path.
Channeling all his anger and anxiety into a masterful multi-course meal for MARK (Ennis Esmer), an old schoolmate turned financial whiz, Daniel stakes the future on his own artistic vision and unshakeable ability to deliver under fire.
Screening with "Hunger"
Location: The Royal Cinema, 608 College St. Toronto