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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Times Are Changing: A Legendary Eatery Forges Into A New Business Climate, November 11, 2011
This review is from: Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven (DVD)
Director Andrew Rossi's documentary of the legendary restaurant Le Cirque and its founder Sirio Maccioni is a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain of both a famed institution and a family legacy. From humble beginnings, Maccioni created a culinary empire that became synonymous with celebrity and decadence in its heyday. But as times changed and the clientele evolved, the Maccioni family had no choice but to look toward the future. Rossi has an intimate and all-access approach in "Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven" and it is this closeness that really distinguishes the piece. The film charts Le Cirque as the original location shuts its doors in 2004 and its new location opens up two years afterwards. But in addition to giving you great insight into the restaurant business, the movie is also very much a story of family. The Le Cirque brand includes and employs Maccioni's three sons and much of the story's drama and tension builds from the literal passing of the torch between tradition and new vision.

Having watched numerous documentary features set in a similar milieu, I will say that Le Cirque's unique hook is portrayed in the family dynamic. Sirio is stubborn (and justifiably so), set in his habits, and mistrustful of change. Each of the sons represents a different way of thinking and as the future of the business is their legacy, the opposing viewpoints often lead to conflict. As decisions about the new Le Cirque push forward, the movie showcases the intimacies and frustrations that make for grand drama. Family business, both personal and private, is laid bare for the world to see. And while it becomes apparent there will never be a true meeting of minds, the family is bonded by love and the desire to succeed. They just have different opinions as to how to reach those goals.

Of course, aside from the family and business aspects that are portrayed so vividly, "Le Cirque" is overpopulated by celebrities. It's fun just keeping your eyes open for who might pop up next for one of the celebrations--indeed, the reopening itself was one of the most spectacular celebrity fetes that you're likely to encounter. Some in attendance include Woody Allen, Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, Billy Joel, and Bill Cosby and that's just scratching the surface. The movie builds momentum and suspense as the new restaurant readies for its first major review and that notice turns out to be a spot-on commentary about the dichotomy between past practices of Le Cirque and what needs to be its new direction. Thoroughly entertaining, even if you don't think you have an interest in the restaurant industry, "Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven" succeeds on a number of different levels. And I was happy to spend some time at the table. KGHarris, 11/11.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More about "family issues" than food, this engaging film could be subtitled "My Three Sons"., November 12, 2011
This review is from: Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven (DVD)
I usually review music and entertainment items on Amazon but - when something catches my eye outside that arena - I often review those releases. This is one of those cases.

This has been an "Andrew Rossi Film Festival" week for me. Two days ago I watched - and reviewed here on Amazon - his latest film: "Page One" about the New York Times and the effect of digital media on the printed newspaper. Then yesterday I got Rossi's previous directing effort: Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven" which he made on 2008. Both are excellent.

I won't go into the details of the film since fellow reviewer KG Harris has already done a fine job of that. But I'll add a few more insights, that I hope will be helpful.

This film was produced by the HBO Documentary division of HBO Films and is being distributed on DVD by First Run Features - which has, over the last few years, created a niche in "foodie films" - "Kings of Pastry", " Guy Martin" and even "Dive!" (About dumpster divers - all of which I've reviewed on Amazon.

Rossi uses the same techniques as "Page One" here, getting total access to be with the Maccioni family (Sirio, the founder of Le Cirque, his wife, and their three sons) for a three year period. When he read that Sirio was closing the restaurant in the Palace Hotel, he realized he had only three months before that last serving on 12/31/2004. He followed the family for the next two years as they built and staffed the new location in the Bloomsberg Building. And you feel like a fly-on-the-wall in some scenes where Sirio and his sons argue. There's even a scene where Sirio enters an elevator, after a disappointment, and it's just he and the camera, alone, for 15 seconds.

Sirio started in the Restaurant business as a bus boy at age 13. He is Italian, but runs a French restaurant. It may be one of the priciest restaurants in NY, but when he comes home - to what looks like a simple apartment, with a kitchen that looks likes most average American families, there is his wife cooking a traditional Italian meal. The other "down to earth" scene I loved was that, while creating and building the new location, where do the mother and sons (One of who runs the Las Vegas location of Le Cirque) go for lunch? McDonalds!

There is even a small overlap between Ross's "Page One" and this film. When they show the reports from New York papers commenting on the new location opening, there is NY Times Media reporter David Carr - a main character in "Page One". Like Carr, the Le Cirque film is more about Sirio and his sons than about food. But foodies will love it.

The Bonus features include a "Q &A with The Director", which is a text interview, rather than a filmed one, which is interesting. There are also three "Bonus Scenes" (total six minutes) that really add nothing to the story.

I'm not sure what Rossi's next film project is but - based on these two films - I'm really looking forward to them.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bucket List Restaurant., February 27, 2014
This review is from: Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven (DVD)
I caught this documentary on HBO one late,sleepless night. I knew nothing about the film or the restaurant itself,but five minutes into this thing I was pulled in. It's a wonderful story,a look into a family's dealing with changing times and tastes in the world of cuisine,and after watching it you almost feel like you've made a quick trip to the Big Apple. I don't really have a bucket list ( maybe I should start seeing as how I'm on the backside of fifty ! ) but if I did you can bet that dinner at Le Cirque would be on there somewhere. I found the main character's life to be fascinating and the sometimes heated discussions between the sons and him to be almost funny. This is definitely worth watching. Even if you're just a cheeseburger person.
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Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven
Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven by Andrew Rossi (DVD - 2011)
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