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SXSW 2014—Day 1: 'Chef'
Merrick Morton / Open Road Films
John Leguizamo, Jon Favreau and Emjay Anthony in 'Chef'

This week is the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival, and we're lucky enough to have updates from the festival every day. Below is the first.

Chef, directed by Jon Favreau

Every high school student knows that the ancients had three categories of conflict: man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. himself. To these, modern film adds one: creator vs. critic.

Of course, we also learned in high school that not every text should be read as veiled autobiography. But what if the protagonist (Jon Favreau) is a brilliant chef played by the writer/director himself?

What if that protagonist wants to challenge himself but is threatened with termination by his boss (Dustin Hoffman) if he deviates from the tried and true menu/formula?

What if that protagonist tells his blogger critic (Oliver Platt) not once but twice that bad reviews hurt his feelings?

What if the artist himself introduces his film by saying he is glad for the opportunity to do a smaller film because they don't have to please everyone, can be about lessons one has learned in life, and can be more than just another escape fantasy?

If we take Favreau at his movie's word, directing Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Cowboys & Aliens must have been quite a dreary affair. And apparently true geniuses are too busy innovating to figure out Twitter. Favreau told the opening night audience at SXSW that he has a lot of "eight page" scripts from ideas that generated enthusiasm but cooled before he could flesh them out. The idea for Chef stuck with him, however, refusing to be consigned to a someday-before-it's-too-late project.

The result is a film that is as familiar as the comfort food that Chef Carl Casper rediscovers when his professional ...

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SXSW 2014—Day 1: 'Chef'
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