Cesars Grill (SBIFF ’14)


I really connected with this film. Some back-story, My mom is from Nicaragua, and my uncle still lives there. He is the proud owner of a chain of restaurants, in the same vein as the title Grill. He sells meat and buffalo wings. It’s part sports bar, part Grill. Every summer for as long as I can remember I’ve hanged out and worked there with him, learning the ins and outs of the culinary business, so when I stumbled on this film in the Festival Genius app, I had to check it out.

Suffice to say, it captures the zeitgeist of two key things. How hard it is running a restaurant, but more importantly, and the real purpose of the film, how hard it is to communicate with your father and family especially when you don’t want to follow in the same business as them and you want to move away from your country.

Cesar moves to Germany to escape Ecuador, but is asked to come back after 12 years, when his dad is having issues with the restaurant’s mortgage and bills.

Comedy ensue.

The film has a step in it’s bounce. Starting off with a wonderfully creative stop-motion animated sequence of Caesar eating and munching on Lettuce like a rabbit. Because, A Freudian psycho-analyst would have a field day with this film, to overcompensate and “not become his father” Caesar has been a Vegetarian for 12 years. These are the kind of symbolic and fundamental differences with his father living in Ecuador.

” My father and I are masters of non-communication ‘ , Dario Aguirre admits bluntly – and attempts to change this situation with this film .

The doc avoids getting sentimental and keeps the tone upbeat and sunny. Not to mention numerous self-composed songs that Aguirre skillfully plays with his acoustic guitar to loosen up the mood. And also serve as Shakespearean asides to comment on the situations.

imagine a vegetarian running a meat grill shack? while failing to communicate with his father? the subtext and text work together greatly in this Documentary. They can’t even communicate (Cesar and his father) about mundane things like buying tomatoes and produce, let alone about stuff like the last act development that Cesar’s mom has Cancer.

The film is sublime, funny and yummy-looking.

– keyvan yaldai

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