The 'Vous | Review | DOC NYC 2022


One look at The 'Vous' IMDb page may have you confused. What common thread could link Peyton Manning, John Daly, Bill Clinton and Terence Blanchard? The love of good food. 

For those without prior knowledge of The Rendezvous in Memphis, Tennessee, this documentary will have you immediately searching for the next ticket to the home of the blues. Found in a Downtown Memphis Alley, The Rendezvous has become a famous joint for people to gather and enjoy the atmosphere the Vergos family has been curating since 1948. About family first and food second, The 'Vous wants to capture that energy and pay homage to the people that made it great. With almost 75 years of history behind it, directors Jack Lofton and Jeff Dailey have no issue spanning the entirety of the restaurant's legacy. We fall in love with the original staff and hear their stories first-hand while looking at the present day and seeing how much (or how little) has changed in the time since. 

This documentary is bursting with characters that are easy to love. It ties the personal to the professional and explores how those lines may blur at times in a place so close-knit. For those who have worked in hospitality, the camaraderie may be familiar, but there is something so very unique in the way every single person in the frame seems to love their job and their second home (beyond the $100,000 a year income). 

Packing so much into 82 minutes, Dailey and Lofton contextualise the restaurant's place in history against the civil rights movement and the devastation of MLK getting shot in Memphis. It wants to show the cultural impact of the restaurant, as well as the personal, which is something admirable.

Love and intimacy are rife in The 'Vous. Dailey and Lofton invite us to see vulnerable moments, which must be a testimony to the heart they injected into this film. It is Dailey's first director credit and Lofton's second, but the film is accomplished, moving and, at times, profoundly uplifting. 

"Once you become a rendezvous guy, you stay a rendezvous guy", one of the leading contributors says, which becomes equally true for the audience of this film. With such likeable personalities on screen, how could you not fall for this documentary the way generations have fallen for The Rendezvous? 

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