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WHAT'S COOKING?

USA / UK, 1999 (MIFF 2000, International Panorama)

Director: Gurinder Chadha

"That most American of holidays, Thanksgiving, serves as the focal point for this raptly celebratory look at the modern American family. What's Cooking? interweaves the workings of four diverse Los Angeles households—African-American, Jewish, Latino and Vietnamese—as they make their preparations for arriving guests and relatives for the traditional festive dinner. Who but an outsider would have the keen perception and discernment to capture the nuances of family relationships and culturally specific behaviour, decor, and most of all food, with this degree of accuracy and freedom?

Director Gunnder Chadha (Bhaji on the Beach), an Englishwoman of Indian descent now living in Los Angeles, working with a wonderful cast (Joan Chen, Mercedes Ruehl, Kyra Sedgwick) and superbly talented collaborators, has created what could well become a classic holiday film ot immense charm and energy. What's Cooking? is a beautiful tapestry of love and anger, difference and familiarity and a moving vision."—Sundance Film Festival

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