blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

House Specialty (1978, Sophie Tatischeff)

A scene from HOUSE SPECIALTY (Dégustation maison), directed by Sophie Tatischeff.

House Specialty chronicles the last few minutes of a day at a pastry shop in a small French town. The short’s credits are incomplete, but it appears the lead–the clerk–is played by Dominique Lavanant. She’s an attractive young woman surrounded either by old men or almost old men. The difference is the almost old men talk about working and the old men just play games at the shop. The similarity is all the men scarf down the tartlets.

Director Tatischeff is very straightforward with her direction, letting the conversations mesh together in the confined space. Characters come and go–with the only female customers being disgusted at the tarlets, which sell out immediately after coming out of the oven.

As the film winds down and Lavanant and her employer send the men home, Tatischeff reveals the further importance of the pastry shop in the town.

It’s sublime stuff.

3/3Highly Recommended


Written and directed by Sophie Tatischeff; director of photography, Pierre Dupouey; edited by Joëlle Hache; production designer, Denis-Martin Sisteron.

Starring Dominique Lavanant (the clerk), Dédé (a customer) and Gilberte Géniat (the boss).


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