Celebrating Royal Victoria Hospital with a play

Until Nov. 1, catch Infinithéâtre’s Progress! in the nurses’ lounge of the landmark hospital

Last Tuesday, Progress!—a play written by Alyson Grant that uses ghosts to celebrate and commemorate the buildings of the Royal Victoria Hospital on Pine Avenue—held its preview on site.

From left: Daniel Brochu, Peter Farbridge, and KC Coombs. Photo by Brian Morel.

The Royal Vic, as it’s known locally, opened in 1893 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and moved to the Glen site in NDG last April.

Grant ascribed her inspiration for Progress! to her own attempts to come to terms with the changing function of the Pine Avenue buildings, which have been used by many Montrealers to recover from ailments, to give birth and to say farewell to loved ones.

“The exclamation mark [in the title] suggests the irony behind progress,“ said Grant.

Grant’s connection with the Royal Vic started in her early 20s when her boyfriend was a patient there. Although it was at the Montreal Neurological Institute where he eventually passed away, Grant spent a lot of time at the Royal Vic during his illness and had become very familiar with its smell and taste of its food.

The tale begins during the later part of the Victorian era. As the show opens, the ghosts of the first two people to die in one of the hospital’s rooms come onstage to interact with the audience. These characters, known simply as No. 1 (played by Peter Farbridge) and No. 2 (played by Daniel Brochu), form a Vaudevillian duo, delivering jokes and slapstick comedy. The action then shifts to a room where a suicidal woman (played by K.C. Coombs) has just been admitted. The ghosts set out to help her understand the cause s for her sadness and despair that led to her attempted suicide. By doing so, they hope she will avoid becoming the hospital’s latest ghost. This retrospection offers moments of comic relief and evokes themes of religion, fate, the afterlife, abandonment, relationships and family ties while questioning the relevance of progress—all with the human touch expected at a hospital.

The director, Guy Sprung, said Progress! attempts to strike a very delicate balance between humour on one side and despair and sadness on the other. “I hope we get that balance there, so that you come away with something and at the same time it is a celebration of this hospital and its history,” said Sprung.

The nurses’ lounge was converted into a theatrical space for this play. “There is no doubt that the play has an extraordinary resonance because of the location,” said Sprung. The way the characters move around the set allows the audience to participate in the action as it unravels. Sprung also noted that the cast feels a certain amount of nostalgia towards these buildings, particularly since three of the actors and the stage manager were born within their walls. Vaudevillian in style, Progress! is an entertaining reminder of the historic relevance of these buildings.


Presented by Infinithéâtre—which promotes new theatrical works in Quebec—Progress! premiered on Oct. 21 and will be playing at the nurses’ lounge of the former location of the Royal Victoria Hospital on Pine Avenue until Nov. 1. Tickets are $20 for students and can be purchased at Infinithéâ


You’re a good musical, Charlie Brown

See your favourite Charles M. Schultz creation in a stage musical

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown—a musical comedy loosely based on the characters in Peanuts, the comic strip created by Charles M. Schulz—is produced by the West Island Theatre Association (WISTA) and premiered Friday.

The characters of Peanuts brought to life. Photo by Robert Gallant.

This musical, written by Clark Gesner, contains no plot. Instead, it’s a series of short scenes that follow the life of Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they navigate their way through childhood.
WISTA has enough cast members that they made two teams to share the performances equally: one red and one blue. If the red cast performs during the afternoon then the blue cast would perform in the evening, and vice versa.

“[Peanuts] is the best known comic strip that’s been around, and this is its 65th anniversary, which is one of the reasons we [WISTA] chose to do this show,” said Robin Kravitz, who played Snoopy as part of the red cast on Friday.

“We all have that kid inside that never really wants to grow up,” said Angela Marino, who plays Lucy Van Pelt. “[Being a kid is] one of the best times of your life—no responsibilities—everything is free and it’s just about having fun. Adults remember that and want to pass that experience on to their kids.” As a whole, the play is fun, touching, and comedic—people of all ages can relate to it in some way.

Beloved characters paired with the stage and song. Photo by Robert Gallant.

Ian MacLaren described his character, Charlie Brown, as “a loner with very low self-esteem who is prone to believe everything that people say about him, but particularly … Lucy.” He said he was like that as a child, so he merely uses his memory recall to get into character.

About her extremely outspoken, sassy and bossy character, Marino said some of Lucy’s qualities resonate with her, as she recalls bossing her younger sisters around during her childhood and, like Lucy, receiving some sass back. “Lucy thinks she is perfect until she is told by Schroeder that she is a crabby person and then she realizes that she has to change,” said Marino.

Snoopy—the good-natured, loveable Beagle—provides comfort and support to Charlie Brown. “Pets are a wonderful presence to have,” said Kravitz. “Snoopy is one of the funniest characters I’ve ever played—he is funny, philosophical and dramatic.”

Peanuts, the comic strip, ended in 2000, but the themes it encapsulates continue to resonate with contemporary audiences. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown brings to life these characters, which many parents and grandparents have been telling younger generations about.

The orchestra, conducted by Kiel Howden, is located off-stage and provides a rich music hall sound to the songs without detracting from the action on stage.

The set is very minimalist and reminiscent of comics and crayons. Building blocks are moved around to set the scenes.

WISTA is a non-profit musical theatre company that was founded in 2006. Its mission is to provide an outlet for young adults up to the age of 29 to develop their skills in musical theatre. The company puts on several musicals annually, and volunteers are always welcome.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown runs until Oct. 24 at the Louise Chalmers Theatre in Pointe Claire. Tickets for students are $20 and are available at


Searching for a lost mind and finding it in music

Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind, weaves a narrative that confronts Alzheimer’s and the power of music

Music can be used to soothe the soul and to help buffer the wounds that life inflicts. This truism is evident in Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind, a deep, soul-searching film that promotes the need to appreciate and to cherish the past achievements of those who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This film highlights the challenges these diseases present—not only to those afflicted by them, but also to their family members and caregivers.

Photo still taken from Una Vida.

The screenplay was written by Dr. Nicolas Bazan and Richie Adams and is based on a novel written by Bazan, a neuroscientist whose research focuses on neurodegenerative diseases with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s.

Joaquim de Almeida (Desperado) plays Dr. Alvaro Cruz, a neuroscientist whose research mirrors Bazan’s. Cruz receives news of his mother’s death while at a scientific meeting in Paris. Distraught, he returns home to New Orleans and decides to take a leave from his research to deal with the emotions brought on by his mother’s death. He finds himself in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where he discovers Una Vida, played by Aunjanue Ellis, an African-American jazz singer, performing in a bar. He again witnesses her performing at an old diner he used to frequent with his mother. Struck by the way she appears to lose her place in the music and then quickly find it again, he concludes that she is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and decides to use his scientific expertise to help her. In this quest, he discovers her musical past and, at the same time, embarks on an emotional journey that helps him cope with his mother’s death and his subsequent sense of loss. This act of altruism enables him to help Una Vida’s family cope with her illness.

As the film’s title suggests, music is prominently featured throughout the film. The musical score was composed and produced by Carlos José Alvarez, and includes rich traditional pieces such as “Motherless Child,” “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and “Avalon,” intertwined with new pieces that provide a powerful and unique New Orleans flavour.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are very emotionally stressful and isolating experiences, which are turned into a heart-rending tale by the plot and stellar performances by the actors. The story that unravels is powerful, appealingly realistic and entertaining. The film succeeds at raising awareness for these diseases, and promotes a community approach to handling them.

You can see Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind at Cineplex Quartier Latin on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.


The operatic metamorphosis of a geisha

Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera is now showing at the Opéra de Montréal

Love was in the air as l’Opéra de Montréal (ODM) kicked off its 36th season with a stunning interpretation of Madama Butterfly, by Giacomo Puccini, at Place des Arts on Saturday. Although this tale is from another political and social era, François Racine, the stage director, portrays it with an exciting freshness and transforms it so that it can be palatable for contemporary audiences. Racine weaves a tale that focuses on the profound nature of true love, with all its foibles, and shares the simplicity, innocence, candour and beauty he says he experiences each time he sees this opera.

A voice raised to depict Puccini’s famous narrative.

Puccini uses three acts to spin a tale that pitches Western culture against that of the East, juxtaposes innocence with experience and showcases the profound nature of true love, along with all its illusions and disillusions.

Set in the port city of Nagasaki, Japan at the turn of the 20th century, the libretto is loosely based on a true story of a young geisha whose innocence and beauty captivates an American naval officer who marries her, and then returns to sea in search of an American wife. The geisha had renounced her ancestral gods and converted to Christianity before her marriage. The American does not return and she takes charge of
her own destiny.

A glimpse at the tensions portrayed by the actors.

The first act opens with Pinkerton, the American, examining a house he has rented for himself and Butterfly, his betrothed. Sharpless, the US consul, appears and Pinkerton reveals that he is unsure that he loves Butterfly, but that he is bewitched by her charm and innocence. Before she appears on stage, Butterfly is heard telling her friends and family that “she is the happiest girl in Japan, or in the world.” The marriage takes place and the act ends with the couple singing the famous long love duet that evokes strong sensual feelings and seems to equal foreplay while their body language displays their happiness.

“She decides to die with honour, rather than to live with shame.”

​Act II opens with Butterfly at home with Suzuki, her loyal servant, waiting for Pinkerton. She fantasizes about his return, but remains loyal to him, despite the presence of other suitors. Three years pass, and Pinkerton asks Sharpless to inform Butterfly that he will not return. Sharpless attempts to read Pinkerton’s letter to Butterfly, but she interrupts him repeatedly, so he gently asks her what she would do if he never returned? She replies that she cannot go back to being a geisha because now her songs would be sad, not happy. Later, Butterfly sees Pinkerton’s ship enter the harbour, and waits for him to come.

An example of some of the elaborate, colourful costume designs of the geishas in Racine’s take on Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

In the final act, Pinkerton returns, but asks Suzuki not to wake Butterfly. It is Suzuki who tells Butterfly that Pinkerton now has an American wife. Butterfly realizes that she has lost everything, but feels satisfied, knowing that she experienced the love of an American husband and bore his son. She decides to die with honour, rather than to live with shame.

Melody Moore, a soprano, makes her debut with ODM as Butterfly. While she is much taller and heavier than one expects of a geisha, she handles this demanding role effortlessly. She is convincing as a playful, innocent 15-year-old, who is in love, and then transforms into a sensuous wife and mother who ultimately takes charge of her own destiny. The intense emotions she evokes with her voice and body language are palpable. Her rendition of “Un bel dì,” the opera’s most famous aria, received robust applause.

Antoine Bélanger, a tenor, returned to ODM as a replacement for Demos Flemotomos as Pinkerton for this performance, and although his voice and dramatic presence were flat at the outset, he quickly gained confidence and transformed into the cad he portrayed.
Morgan Smith, baritone, makes his debut with ODM as Sharpless, the US consul stationed at Nagasaki. His rich tones harmonize perfectly with the tenor and the soprano voices.
Allyson McHardy, a mezzo-soprano, plays Suzuki, Butterfly’s devoted maid with all the charm, manners and politeness common within Japanese culture.

Puccini’s score includes Japanese-sounding melodies, punctuated by “The Star-Spangled Banner” and is intertwined with 10 pieces of classical and popular Japanese music. The orchestra, led by James Meena, succeeds in evoking all the feelings and passion on display.

This is particularly evident in Act II, when the orchestra almost takes on the role of a character—informing the audience of the depth of a scene—as the music describes and evokes the feelings Butterfly experiences while she maintains a vigil for her husband, the anguish she feels as she prepares to relinquish her son and again in the emotionally-charged final scene.

The stage sets are elegant, but simple and airy. The decoration is sparse and cherry blossoms add a distinctly Japanese aura. The costumes are very elegant, but remain tastefully simple. Red fabric is contrasted by varying shades of cream and gold, which provides richness without opulence.

In the final scene of Act I, Butterfly is in a white gown, and Pinkerton, jacketless, is in his white naval uniform. Here, white is used as a prop to depict the very sensually charged, yet innocent moment the couple experiences as they move towards consummating their marriage.

The lighting is effectively used to create a mood, or to signal a change in the time of day. In ODM’s synopsis of the opera, Puccini is quoted to say this is one of “the most sincere and evocative” of all his compositions. The libretto is uncomplicated and appeals to the initiated, as well as those who may be new to opera. As the dying strains of the orchestra were heard, the audience erupted into a round of applause that became a standing ovation, lasting at least five minutes.

You have the chance to see Madama Butterfly at Salle Wilfred Pelletier, Place des Arts, until Sept. 28.

Student Life

Telling immigrants’ stories with fashion

Native Immigrant IV weaves the fabric of immigrants’ lives

Native Immigrant IV is more than just a sartorial-themed art exhibit; it’s a collective project that invites immigrants to come and weave their personal stories into a dress that will make up a representation of our multicultural society. The project’s curator, Carolina Echeverria, who emigrated from Chile 30 years ago, constructs dresses that tell the stories of immigrants.

“All immigrants have things from their culture that they want to retain and sometimes this can be difficult, but they all have one thing in common which is that they are all different,” said Echeverria. With the creation of her dresses she is offering immigrants an opportunity to tell stories of their respective cultures that are unique and personal.

Her fourth dress will pay homage to her friend, Myriam, who succumbed to leukemia this summer. The families of Myriam and her husband are immigrants, from Jewish and Arab religious backgrounds, respectively. Their union created much tension within their families during their three short years together.

Echeverria has completed the skeletal frame for Myriam’s dress.  It will be planted in a large pot of indigenous soil. The storytelling for this dress has started: Myriam’s husband and other family members have draped its frame with items that are meaningful to them. Donated items that tell stories about immigration, migration or identity will craft the rest of the dress. These could be made of fabric, paper or metal.

“[I hope] that the dress will be 10 metres long,” she said.

Over the next week, Echeverria invites the public to come to her studio and incorporate their own stories into the dress.

Echeverria will be on hand to weave the flow of the dress, but not to influence its structure.  In addition, five other artists will collaborate with the public to assist in the storytelling aspect of this artform and to maximize the impact of the objects on the dress. These will include two musicians, a musical composer from Chile, a writer, a dancer, and a choreographer.

As a fibre and textile artist, Echeverria said that her work focuses on social themes within a political context. Her art aims “to bridge immigrants to First Nations because they know the land and are about colour,” she said.

Echeverria said she drew inspiration for this project from Norval Morrisseau, an Aboriginal Canadian artist.

“His art makes me feel happy,” she said. Speaking about First Nations, Echeverria added, “You find all the vibrancy of colour in their imagery, in the paintings of Morrisseau, in their clothing, in everything.”

She said that Morrisseau realized that the First Nations lacked a visual representation of themselves, which was needed for them to feel a sense of empowerment. She draws a similar parallel with immigrants here.

Echeverria said that her art provides a visual update on how immigrants relate to the dominant culture.

“[I’m] committed to offering immigrants a visual interpretation of themselves,” she said, so that they, too, can feel a sense of empowerment, and not feel like an isolated minority. She accomplishes this with the dresses she constructs.

Participatory dressmaking workshops will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Oct. 22 to 25 at Escheverria’s studio at 4710 Ste. Ambroise, Studio 336, Montreal.

If you would like to contribute something to the dress, but cannot attend a workshop please use the contact information that appears on Echeverria’s website,

The finished dress will be displayed at Café l’Artère, at 7000 Parc Ave. as of Dec. 4.


Champ Amical: understanding friendship

Exhibit at L’Occurrence Gallery examines what it means to be a friend until Oct. 4

The artists involved in Champ Amical used a huge variety of mediums to express their ideas of what friendship all about.

The proverb “a friend in need is a friend indeed,” indicates the powerfulness of friendship, a theme that is seldom addressed in contemporary art.  The Champ Amical exhibition presented at L’Occurrence Gallery embraces it.

The artists featured in the exhibition are close friends, and they evoke the theme of friendship through their drawings, lithographs, books, photographs, videos and sculptures.  Graphic designer Catherine Beaupré; the multi-talented duo composed of Vincent Leduc and Annie Descôteaux, videographer Julie Tremble, photographer Michel Laforest, special effects designer Philippe Hamelin, and Jonathan Demers all contributed to the project.

Leduc-Descôteaux‘s exhibit includes drawings, lithographs, photographs, a video and a sculpture that showcases their friendship since 2004. It includes a motif, in the shape of a stuffed golden serpent. All the other artists created their exhibits specifically for Champ Amical.

Catherine Beaupré uses photography, drawing and collage in the form of three books to portray the many facets of friendship. The artist associates a colour with each of the three books to evoke different feelings and meanings such as the intense emotions often experienced in friendship, the feeling of adventure and even the impact of food in a friendship. When contacted electronically about her artistic work, Beaupré explains that, “books can be ideal to group different things and form one unique object. I chose books as my medium to restrain my work.” She described her use of photographs, drawings and texts in her books as a way to facilitates the contemplation of friendship.

Philippe Hamelin’s video incorporates the ecstatic dance movements of a group of digital zombies to create the poetic harmony that exists between humans and technology in dance.

Julie Tremble’s video recreates the inside of the homes of friends using 3-D modeling  “to portray the intimacy and transparency that exists there,” she says, “I wanted to create the feeling of discovering the rooms within a home, along with the shapes and objects contained within this confined and intimate space that is shared by close friends.” Tremble says that her video unintentionally portrays “an inventory of contemporary places where people from a certain social group, and of a certain age, live.”

Michel Laforest presents a series of photographs that depict the harmony that can exist amongst friends while they enjoy nature.  This harmony is evident by his use of colour and timing.

Jonathan Demers provides the audio guide for the exhibition, in collaboration with his friend Frederick Malette as complementary audio component to an visual ode to friendship.

As an ensemble, these projects are designed to help us reflect on the value of friends, in terms of how they affect our lives in ways that we may not have thought about.  By seeing the artists involved in the exhibition at the vernissage, it was evident that much discussion was generated as friends clustered in groups and mingled together. Champ Amical will most definitely make a friend out of you if go and visit this homage to the special bond that is friendship.

Champ Amical is presented until Oct. 4 at the new location of Occurrence espace d’art et d’essai contemporains. For more information, go visit the gallery’s website:


A look into what it takes to make a delicious burger

Cowspiracy delivers the often silenced effects of animal agriculture

God knows documentaries can be patronizing. Sometimes it is the almighty narrator who knows all, other times it is the gruesome images that try to guilt you into becoming something you are not. Well, that is not the case of Cowspiracy, the first film by director duo Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. In many ways, this documentary about the unsustainability of the current agricultural industry is very different from those said condescending documentaries seemingly made to make you feel stupid.

One of those key differences is the way the documentary feels personal and subjective in a positive way. The movie follows the thinking evolution of one of the directors, Kim Andersen. This shows his transformation into what we could call a “true” environmentalist. This is not as drastic as you may think. We are talking here of someone simply starting to change little habits, like taking shorter showers and using a bike instead of a car, to lower his carbon footprint. Then, he gets more and more interested in deeper environmental issues such as the effect of agriculture on the planet, and the odd fact that this problem is rarely addressed by any major environmentalist organization.

From there, he starts to investigate this incongruity by going up to worldwide organizations such as Greenpeace and Oceana, just to name a few. With him, you rapidly realize that there is something fishy about the fact that experts and huge pro-environment groups are simply looking the other way when questioned about the effect that animal agriculture has on the planet. It seemed much easier for them to pin Mother Earth’s health problems on cars and plastic bags than talking about one of the most unsustainable industries in humankind history. Just to give you an idea, a UN report cited in the movie states that animal agriculture causes about 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, while all transportation only account for 13 per cent. From there, the narrator and main protagonist of the documentary go on to interview an array of interesting people connected to the issue.

Cowspiracy is not only talking about a major environmental problem, but also critiques the forefront organizations that are supposed to help spread awareness. It denounces the rarely mentioned reality of environmental organizations choosing which issues to address in relation with the risk it involves. In this case, the agriculture industry is described as a very aggressive group, to say the least. It gives to the documentary a more nuanced point of view of the situation. It is not only about the good guys fighting the bad guys. Everyone is in a greyish moral zone. The movie also uses comprehensive graphics and animations to demonstrate the numbers that the narrator is often sharing with the audience.

The movie also has its weaknesses. Obviously set up scenes with Kim Andersen bringing his Al Gore poster down to show that he has lost the respect that he had for what was his inspiration to become an environmentalist shows a certain immaturity on the part of the filmmakers. It also uses a few cheap cinematographic techniques to put a sense of tension not necessary to the movie. Still, the way Cowspiracy is looking at the importance of sustainability and one of its worst enemies makes this film different than most other documentaries of this kind.

More importantly, this is the only movie that sincerely makes me think about becoming vegan. I am a carnivore, but since Cowspiracy, I have become a very confused bacon lover. Watch this documentary, and you will understand. Cowspiracy will be shown during a Cinema Politica screening on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the D.B. Clarke Theatre. For more information about the movie and future screenings, you can visit the movie’s official website:

Student Life

Concordia’s City Farm school grows gorgeous greens on campus

Stop by the farmer’s market at Loyola to taste the fruits of their labour

Did you know that those delicious-looking tomatoes in the farm garden on the Loyola campus can be purchased at Concordia’s farmer’s market? The market stand is literally a few steps away from the garden, and on market days the produce is harvested just before it opens at 11 a.m. This is food that is truly market-fresh and organically grown.

Photo by Johanna Pellus

Jackie Martin, the City Farm School coordinator, explained that the market garden is an internship program that provides the necessary training for students to design, manage and run small-scale urban gardens from seedlings to market, and is a key component of the school.  The market and garden at Loyola, along with the garden at the downtown campus’ Hall building, are great tools for the students to practice their skills. Serving at the farmer’s market enables them to share their knowledge and to interact with the community.

From spinach to squash, an impressive array of produce can be found in the gardens: salad greens, radishes, beets, carrots, peas, beans, Swiss chard, several types of kale, cucumber, zucchini, patty pans (zucchini shaped like spaceships), cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, broccoli, tomatoes, ground cherries, currants, raspberries, blueberries, pears, edamame, garlic, eggplants, an amazing selection of sweet and hot peppers, grapes, and fine herbs.

“The first crop that appears at our market in early spring is spinach, which is the best tasting thing in the whole garden,” says Martin.

The appearance of the winter squash signals the end of the growing season.  The schedule of vegetable availabilities per period can be found on the City Farm School website, which is updated regularly.

When customers see the bright red Russian kale, or the Swiss chard they frequently ask “what is it?” and “how do you cook it?” says Martin.  She and the interns are more than willing to share their own recipes and cooking tips for these food items, which will be added to their website soon.

As an urban agriculturalist, Martin ensures that both the farmers’ market and the City School projects subscribe to the three pillars of sustainability: community, economy, and environment.  She confirmes that the only pesticide used in the garden is made of a plant purée that is lightly fermented in water and sprayed directly on the crops.  Compost is used as a fertilizer, along with fish or algae emulsions or chicken manure.

The planning for next year’s market crops will start in November, so that the seeds can be ordered and planted in the greenhouse by early March. Next May, Martin will host the annual plant sale where some of these young organically-grown plants can be purchased by anyone who wants to try their hand at urban agriculture.

The farmer’s market receives some support from the Sustainability Action Fund and is in partnership/collaboration with Sustainable Concordia, People’s Potato (which uses produce from the gardens), Concordia Council on Student Life, and the Concordia Food Coalition.

Its operating hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the end of October.

For more information visit:


The Hundred-Foot Journey

This film is not a travel journal nor is it another film about cooking. It is a romantic comedy about the importance of family life. It is also about the exquisite pleasure of enjoying and sharing the joy that good food can produce in any single person. Since eating is one of those little things that we all have to do, it is safe to say that a good meal could be described as a universal pleasure.

The Hundred-Foot Journey starts in Mumbai, where we meet a family that has operated restaurants serving native food for several generations. Tragedy strikes, and the family decides to relocate.

Their next stop is London, England where they open a new restaurant, but ultimately they find themselves in a third location in a village in the south of France. There they open Maison Mumbai, which offers Indian cuisine.

Not only is this move innovative, it is also extremely bold given that its location is a mere one hundred feet from Le Saule Pleureur. You can imagine how having a five-star restaurant that has served classic French food for generations as a neighbor can be a little annoying for a new, exotic and little known restaurant. Naturally, the two restaurant owners lock horns, but ultimately they learn that both establishments, like their different cultures, can co-exist in peaceful harmony.

One similarity between the Maison Mumbai and Le Saule Pleureur is that both restaurants consider their staff as family, regardless of whether they share the same blood or not. Both experience the ups and downs of running their respective restaurants together, as a group. The beautiful yet quaint geography of each location is skillfully captured in a way that evokes nostalgia to those familiar with them. Directed by Lasse Hallström, who also brought us Chocolate, and produced by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, this film will, at the very least, make you leave the theatre smiling.

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