Interweaving the stories of six individuals from across the globe, the film making team behind The Taste of Desire surprisingly crafts a poignant narrative about human desire and mortality.

You wouldn’t normally think a documentary about oysters could at all be interesting. What is there to really tell without it becoming a marine biology lesson? That’s the line this doc had to be careful of crossing. Luckily for us, Director Willemiek Kluijfhout and team tread that line well enough so you never really feel like you’re sitting through a school lesson.

The best way to describe this documentary is…human. The narrative around oysters is used as a connecting thread between the six stories, tying them together with a surprising connection. At first, I wasn’t sure how this could be played out but Kluijfhout and team pulled it off smartly.

What works for this documentary is its tone. There are plenty of moments where the cinematography lingers and no narration is playing. Normally in docs this can play out as confusing and borderline boring. You expect to have a narration to help guide your understanding of what you are viewing. Here however, the tone is drastically different and the lack of narration at points emphasizes the atmosphere of reverence that is important for the overarching story.

The stories of each person are also expertly structured. You start with the basic information given to you in various ways – who, what, where. In Act Two, you’re eased into a surprising exploration of desire, yes, but also mortality. This is definitely not what I was expecting. I’m not sure if this was intentional by the film’s team but this connection is what “clicked” for me and changed my perspective. Surprising for a documentary about oysters.

All in all, The Taste of Desire is a good doc that is surprisingly engaging. The focus on oysters may seem off-putting and strange at first but the team knew the story they wanted to tell and told it. I’m sure anyone who watches will be able to find some meaning here – like a pearl in an oyster.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Doc Edge Festival 2021 will screen the NZ premiere of The Taste of DesireTickets and more information can be found here

Doc Edge Festival 2021 Review – The Taste of Desire

Reviewed online (screener provided by publicist), July 3, 2021. Rating: TBD. Running time: 87 minutes.

PRODUCTION: (Netherlands) A Cassette for Timescapes and Halal production. Producer: Olivia Sophie Van Leeuwen

CREW: Director & Writer: Willemiek Kluijfhout. Editor: Saskia Kievits. Cinematographer: Remko Schnorr. Music: Tuur Florizoone

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