Trevor Graham’s ‘Monsieur Mayonnaise’ headed to Berlin

By Jackie Keast

Feature documentary Monsieur Mayonnaise is headed to the Berlin International Film Festival, where it will have its international premiere after debuting locally at MIFF last year.

The film will screen in Berlinale’s “Culinary Cinema” section – focused on the relationship between food, culture and politics – on February 15, followed by a dinner by German chef Christian Lohse at the Gropius Mirror restaurant.

Director Trevor Graham’s previous doco, Make Hummus Not War, screened in the Culinary Cinema sidebar in 2013.

Monsieur Mayonnaise follows Australian artist and filmmaker Phillippe Mora as he creates a comic book about his parents. His late father, Georges, was widely known within Melbourne as an art patron and restauranteur, and his mother, Mirka, is a prominent artist.

The film sees Mora travel to LA, Berlin and Paris, investigating his family’s secret past, including his father’s role in the French Résistance in WWII and his mother’s miraculous escape en-route to Auschwitz.

“Mirka Mora’s family story of only just evading Auschwitz ‘by a week’ and escaping to rural France (Burgundy) for the duration of the war, I found particularly poignant,” said Graham.

“The Moras’ story of coming to Australia as post war refugees, establishing restaurants and being instrumental in fostering Melbourne’s burgeoning art scene, highlighted the precious cultural and social contribution that migrants and refugees make to Australian life. Their story – fleeing persecution – is for me a parable of our own times – people crossing frontiers in search of safety and freedom.”

Monsieur Mayonnaise composer Cezary Skubiszewski recently won an AACTA Award for Best Original Music Score in a Documentary.

Graham, Mora and producer Lisa Wang will all attend the Berlinale with support from Screen Australia.

Other Australian films to screen at the festival include children’s flicks EMO the Musical and Red Dog: True Blue, along with shorts After the Smoke, Wolfe and Smashed. Kitty Green’s doco Casting JonBenet recently picked up by Netflix – will also make its European debut in the Panaroma section, and the Karrabing Film Collective’s Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams will show as part of Forum Expanded.

Berlin International Film Festival runs February 9-19.