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Documentary film, 90 min.
Production: HMR Produktion in cooperation with wirth Arte/WDR/NDR, funded by Filmstiftung NRW
Director of Photography:
Hajo Schomerus, Dirk Wojcik
Uwe Herpich (WDR), Olaf Grunert (Arte), Christian Hinz (WDR), Barbara Denz (NDR)
Mechthild Barth, Christian Wagener
Stavros Charitidis, Laura Schnurre
Frank Maraite, Rheingold Studios
World premiere: March 8, 2010 (Copenhagen)
First broadcast: September 26, 2010 (Arte)
Reruns: September 30, 2010 (Arte), October 15, 2010 (Arte), April 10, 2012 (Das Erste), February 20, 2014 (WDR)
Quad Cinema in New York, NY (opens July 13, 2012)
Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles, CA (opens August 3, 2012)
Florida Film Festival (April 13 - 22, 2012)
In 2003, the French celebrity chef Bernard Loiseau, fearing the loss off one of his Michelin stars, shot himself with a sporting gun. "Three stars" explores the psychological and economical effects that the Guide Michelin puts on the Haute Cuisine with its paramilitary-style organized kitchens. The scenery changes from the hectic activities at the stove to the on-site laboratories, where the newest menus are designed. The protagonists from nine different kitchens are given the opportunity to freely speak about their daily routine, their personal worries and their ambition to make it to the very top.
Three Stars tries to go beyond the glitter and the celebrity factor that seems to dominate much of the media discourse around chefs. Though interviews and footage of famous chefs occupy most of the screen time in Hachmeister's film, his main focus is the industry itself, in its business aspects and its complicated relationship with critics. (...) Although Three Stars features many gorgeous shots of fantastic dishes, luscious produce and intriguing hand, Lutz Hachmeister does not embrace the use of food-porn aesthetics for the food porn's sake. The guidebook system and the chefs that gain or are damaged by it, rather than the plates they prepare, remain the central elements of Hachmeister's curious gaze. This approach makes the documentary very informative, especially for those who are curious about the glitzy world of exclusive restaurants, but are not too familiar with their inner workings.
The Huffington Post (16.11.2012)
The world's most powerful restaurant guide proves as good an excuse as any to spend time with haute-cuisine superstars in Lutz Hachmeister's Three Stars. (...) The film returns from time to time to the office of Jean-Luc Naret, the too-tan Director of the Michelin Guide, allowing him to testify about the guide's high ethical standards and overall fine-dining tends. But it happily spends much more time with chefs in their kitchens and the places they find inspiration and ingredients - we see specialists harvesting watercress, watch as the mad scientists of Spain's Arzak freeze-dry ingredients into their powdery essence, pick through the freshest fish at Tokyo's Tsukiji market.
The Hollywood Reporter (21.09.2012)
The dishes dazzle in Lutz Hachmeister's documentary "Three Stars", a cinematic helping of some of the world's finest restaurants - and their chefs' opinions. The establishments here have earned star ratings by the Michelin Guides ("the gastronomic bible" the narrator says), three being the highest. Luminaries interviewed include Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Jean Georges in New York; René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen; and Sven Elverfeld of Aqua in Wolfsburg, Germany. Most tantalizing, amid tastes of culinary philosophy, are their perceptions of the guides' influence.
New York Times (20.09.2012)
Hachmeister's "Three Stars" is a treat, largely because it eschews the standard arc of documentaries. (...) While the world of haute cuisine (like fashion or film or music) sometimes tend to get drowned out by bigger, emptier names or those with more flash than talent, "Three Stars" is agentle reminder of the people who are truly interested, fascinated and forever challenged by food, and strive to innovate and reorient our relationship with it.
German documentary maker Lutz Hachmeister looks at nine restaurants rated in the Michelin Red Guide, and the obsessive chefs who command them. The French guidebook, considered the ultimate arbiter of fine dining in Europe (and, more controversially, Asia and North America), comes in for criticism from the chefs, who appreciate the profit and prestige that accompany a good rating but bemoan the dehumanizing pressure of maintaining it. There are plenty of scenes of chefs foraging for ingredients and visiting farms, but the documentary is most captivating for the kitchen scenes contrasting their leadership styles, from the intensity of Copenhagen's uncompromising René Redzepi to the zenlike calm of Tokyo's Hideki Ishikawa.
Chicago Reader (25.09.2012)
Three Stars (4Stars) Lutz Hachmeister's documentary is nominally concerned with the mysterious Guide Michelin star rating system – a restaurant receiving commendation in the influential guide is a money machine – but in fact is an examination of the soul of a chef. Nine chefs, actually, who allow Hachmeister (Germany's “leading media expert”) inside their kitchens and homes and expound upon their philosophies of life and cooking (same thing). The film occasionally betrays its roots as a TV series [...] but the chefs themselves – particularly Nadia Santini, Rene Redzepi and the swoon-inducing Sergio Herman – are holy fools, remarkable for their single-mindedness.
Orlando Weekly (April 12, 2012)