Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Pizza, A Love Story (2019)

 Pizza, A Love Story (2019)

Directed By: Gorman Bechard

Starring: Lyle Lovett, Michael Bolton, Bill Pustari, Dave Portnoy, Francis Rosselli

Seriously, who doesn’t love pizza? It’s one of those comfort foods that always satisfies. Gorman Bechard’s new documentary Pizza, A Love Story is about the love affair with the famous pie. But, more specifically, the film focuses on the amazing pizza coming out of New Haven. 

So, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure about a documentary about pizza. Don’t get me wrong I love the grease-filled treat as much as the next, but, it seemed like something hooky you might see on the Food Network. This was not the case at all, as it turns out. Thankfully, Gorman spices this documentary up with something very specific. Namely it focusing on three historic pizza places in New Haven: Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern. We get an in-depth look at the history of all three places featuring wonderful interviews from the current owners as well as life long regulars. Seeing locals is incredibly important because its these folks that are impacted the most by these restaurants. In fact, these three places transcend just being  places to fill an empty belly but, rather a place to socialize and connect with the community. This is what the film makes perfectly clear and it’s the personal touch Bechard brings that truly ties the documentary together. You cannot help but be transfixed by these stories and how each place has improved and brought together their community. If food is done correctly, its an expression of love and that’s what I think the films core theme is.  Had this just been a bland over-baked overview of pizza from all over the place I don’t think it would have had the same connection. I will say, not being from New Haven and having never stepped foot into these places, it is a bit of an alienating experience.  That’s one way to look at it but, another is I was fascinated (and jealous) by the pizza-magic being made before me. I got a rare glimpse into something new to me and I was fascinated. This is certainly not Gorman’s first documentary. You can tell that its well made in terms of its narrative flow and entertaining stories that help shape the crust, I mean crux of the film. The film is overflowing with rare photos and memorabilia that bring everything to life. It was also entertaining to see people like Michael Bolton, Henry Winkler and Lyle Lovett talking about New Haven and its wonderful pizza.

Like the pizza’s themselves, Gorman puts a lot of love, time and respect into Pizza, A Love Story and, the end result is a perfectly baked film.

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