Posted: 12/28/2008

 

Table for two at HBO’s Le Cirque Table in Heaven

(2008)

by Annie Vinton




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Le Cirque Table in Heaven
Premiers on HBO Monday, December 29th at 8pm
My take: 4 stars

Le Cirque Table in Heaven invites us to a behind the scenes biting reality of an iconic New York family owned and operated business. The family is the Maccioni’s with Sirio as the patriarch with his three sons Mario, Marco and Mauro, continuing the legacy.

The documentary is not akin to the restaurant reality shows we see today, instead satiates the palette with a complex look at a family dynamics navigating their way through the restaurant business with a clash of old school versus new school as Le Cirque is slightly reinvented with its move from its previous location at the Plaza Hotel to the Bloomberg Building at East 58th Street. An additional dynamic is the opening of the Las Vegas Le Cirque under the guidance of Sirio’s eldest son Mario.

This is a quintessential rags to riches story portraying the rise of an immigrant man and his journey with his family with the competitive restaurant business as a backdrop. We’re given direct access to Sirio’s life and although his restaurant clientele includes a range of patrons from Henry Kissinger to Donald Trump to Frank Zappa, it’s humbling to see Sirio seated in his cramped Manhattan apartment kitchen; taking cabs instead of luxury cars; and interacting with his grandchildren in Las Vegas. He reminds many of us of the fathers we knew, those that made sacrifices sometimes to a detriment, through many hours of work, to better the lives of their children.

Throughout the documentary, family arguments ensue with nervous energy radiating from Sirio and his sons as the grand opening nears. These loud family discussions cover appropriate staffing, dress code and marketing techniques for the next generation of Le Cirque.

This story wouldn’t be complete without a bit of New York flavor as we watch the Maccionis nervously await The New York Times review and we then see Sirio welcoming the city’s cardinal to the interior kitchen for a blessing.

Director Andrew Rossi’s recipe of family history, drama and celebrities will leave you satisfied but yearning for a reservation for two at Le Cirque.

For a sneak peak at the trailer, please click on http://www.dailymotion.com/HBOclips/video/x7rzzc_le-cirque-a-table-in-heaven_shortfilms

Annie Vinton Annie Vinton is a freelance writer and film critic living in NYC. You can read more about her and her writing at her blog here.



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