City of Gold: Film Review
Director: Laura Gabbert
Serving up is certainly high on City of Gold's agenda.
This gentle doco from director Laura Gabbert tantalises us with the notion of a piece about food critic Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer prize winning writer who's more at home among the street food than the swanky restaurants.
But what actually transpires is a long love letter to Los Angeles throughout the years, where Gold live, and to the people who give the food their love and serve to the man who loves their food.
With a few details about Gold scattered throughout, this piece keeps on the right side of hagiography with various colleagues and compadres of the scene espousing the virtues of Gold, who comes replete with long shaggy white hair. One even laments the fact they had discovered an eaterie which they were determined to keep secret but that ambition was foiled by Gold's review pinned up in the corner.
Along the journey, and in among the tantalising dishes served up by various smaller restaurants, Gold himself emerges as a critic of yore. There's very brief discussion of the place of the critic in this internet age and the value of opinion when it's blessed with experience (a thread I'm always, understandably, interested in) but this is really a piece about Los Angeles and the rich melting pot that lies within.
City of Gold is a document and snapshot of culinary history guaranteed to titillate and salivate, but it also throws into the mix a meshing and dollop of LA lifestyle throughout the years. Culturally it may enlighten, but what it will also do for LA, as well as the debate over the place of food critic, is to put plenty of eateries and treasures on the map that hitherto have remained hidden.
And at the end of the day, isn't that the job of the critic?